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Unofficial Aus Govt  Social Media Handbook - Blogs

Page history last edited by Jen Calipari 12 years, 6 months ago

Important notice and disclaimer
This Social Media Handbook is not officially endorsed by the Australian Government. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government or any other individuals or organisations.


Sections: Home - Overview - Blogs - ICT requirements - Content and brand administration - Administration process - Legal considerationsMonitoring Summary of Government guidelines - Open data - Media sharing sites - Tips - Exit strategies - Future work



Before you begin


Some questions to ask before you begin:


  • Why do you want to blog as opposed to updating your website content?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What are you going to blog about?
  • Who is going to write the posts?
  • Where will the content come from?
  • Who will need to sign off on the content?
  • Do you have enough content to blog at least once a week?
  • Will people post under their own names or on behalf of the Dept/team?
  • How will people find the blog?
  • Who will administer/moderate?
  • What is the handover strategy: know how you will be able to transfer the ownership and administration
  • What is the exit strategy: identify when/how will the blog be retired
  • Which blogging platform will the dept use? Does it already have one?
  • Who will need to sign off on the creation of a blog?


Government guidelines[1]




Online engagement tools such as blogs on government websites provide a vehicle for the Government, the Department and the community to engage in conversation on specific policy topics with groups of interested participants. 


Blogs should be implemented according to the following steps:

  • Blogs hosted on Department websites must cover specific topics related to government policy development and matters of interest.
  • Blog posts will be open for comments from the community after the blog owner, eg, the Prime Minister/Minister/ First Assistance Secretary, makes the first blog post.
  • Comments will be published following the relevant blog post following departmental moderation to ensure compliance with the published guidelines.


The Department is responsible for moderation of comments on the website. Once a comment has been submitted, the comment must be checked and moderated before it can be published.


Governance summary 

The operation of the website is subject to a number of principles:

  • published information must follow the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Government Online Standards which state that departmentally funded websites should only contain information relevant to the minister’s official duties and not reference party political activity (e.g. fundraisers, candidates etc.).
  • All information on Australian government websites (including interactive elements such as blogs) is required by law to be accessible to people with disabilities, such as the visually impaired.
  • While not an information or advertising campaign, information on government funded websites should reflect the underlying principles of the Government’s Guidelines on Campaign Advertising; particularly that the dissemination of material using public funds should not be directed at fostering a positive impression of a particular party or promoting party political interests.
  • Where members of the Australian Public Service (APS) participate in the provision of content for websites, the following additional principles must be observed:


Working with online media is subject to the same standards set out in the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct that apply in the physical environment.  These include behaving with respect and courtesy and without harassment, complying with all applicable Australian laws, protecting confidentiality, making proper use of Australian government resources, and upholding the reputation and integrity of the APS.


Information provided by the departmental officers must be accurate, informative, objective, impartial, and apolitical in explaining government policies. Departmental officers have an obligation to provide information about how participant responses will be used (privacy and confidentiality issues).


Rules governing blogs on departmental websites 

The following outlines the two sets of rules governing the use of blogs on departmental websites. The first set provides rules to external blog participants, while the second set covers regulations for blog hosts and blog moderators. The rules are designed to assure both the government and the community that the blog is being conducted in a fair, responsible and appropriate way. They are designed to ensure that the governance principles referred to above and relevant government guidelines are observed.


As Teleseryethe Department is responsible for content published on the website, these rules are key mechanisms for ensuring that content on the website is consistent with the guidelines referred to above. The Department reserves the right to remove any material from the site which does not meet these principles.


All of the following rules should be considered with reference to the perception of users, the community, government and the media. Most importantly, the extent to which something is appropriate will rely heavily on context and cultural values.


When determining how content may be perceived, consideration should be given to “the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults” (see the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, Section 11).


[1] Based on the Prime Minister’s web chat and blog interim governance and moderation guidelines.



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