Social Media Training Opportunity

Take an interactive training on Social Media in Records Management! “Social Media: The Records Management Challenge” is for elected officials and other public employees who have personal social media accounts or government social media accounts. The training covers government use of social media, the capture, management and disposition factors of social media records and citizen interaction with the government through social media.

The training registration can be found at http://go.osu.edu/ohioerc-socialmedia. After registering, you will be taken to BuckeyeLearn to access the training.  The training will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes.  Upon completion of the training, you will be able to print a certificate of completion from BuckeyeLearn. Don’t miss your opportunity to take this free training today and please share with anyone you think may benefit from the information.

Voice messaging as public records

In an article published last month, CNN wrote about the increased use of voice messaging apps to communicate and socialize with friends, family and coworkers. Voice messaging, which serves as an alternative to calls or text messages, allows users to record audio clips and send them to recipients. They’re usually sent via messaging apps like iMessage, WhatsApp or Clubhouse as small audio files. As the middle ground between texting and calling, voice messaging is being heralded as a way to strike a balance between socialization and respect for people’s time and convenience.

Given its increased use, public entities would be wise to consider the potential public record implications of voice messaging. In Ohio, the definition of a public record includes “any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, including an electronic record, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office of the state or its public subdivisions, which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office.”

Under this definition, the format of the record is irrelevant when determining whether a record is a public record. A public entity must look beyond the electronic medium (i.e. voice messaging) and analyze the content of the message to determine if the information is a “record” that the public may access.

If the voice message was “created, received by or comes under the jurisdiction” of the public office and “documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office,” then it likely meets the definition of a public record. This means that those records may need to be retained for certain periods of time pursuant to the public entity’s record retention schedule.

If you have additional questions about the obligations of a public official or employee under Ohio’s public record laws, specifically as it relates to newer apps or social media, please visit the OhioERC’s online social media training course. Among other things, the course provides an overview of social platforms and how government entities use those platforms, the records management aspect of social media, and the unique challenges associated with capturing and disposing of social media content.

Records and Information Management Month: Tips and Guidelines

April is Records and Information Management Month. This April may look and feel very different than what Records Management professionals are used to. Many of us are currently working remotely and there is no better time than now to ensure good record keeping and best practices in your workplace. Here are some things to consider that can promote efficient and effective electronic record keeping in your organization during this time.

  • Are people in your organization working from home? Do they know their responsibility regarding managing electronic records? This month would be a great time to review your organization’s shared drive management and electronic records management policies and procedures.
  • Is your organization using text messaging to document business activities? Check out ERC’s Tips for Text Messaging Retention for best practices and risks/liabilities of using text messages for government business.
  • Have you been communicating more than ever through email? Review our Guidelines for Managing Email to ensure your organization is retaining emails effectively.
  • Is your organization communicating and posting via social media to interact with constituents? Check out ERC’s  Social Media Resources, including the new online training module, Social Media: The Records Management Challenge (2020) .