NYC Dancer Sparks a Nonprofit Social Media Policy

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March 15, 2011; Source: The Wall Street Journal | As you may know, NPQ recently posted an article called, “Tweet Freely,” which explored the possible need for social media policies.

Now according to The Wall Street Journal, a dancer with the New York City Ballet has been tweeting about his boss (after a DUI incident); major donor to the ballet, David H. Koch; and the characterizations of Asians in the company’s work. His tweets about Koch, for example, imagined aloud about Tea Party conspiracies aplay when things went wrong at the theater named after Koch. Koch has given $100 million to the Ballet.

The company is now in the process of negotiating a social media policy with the dancer’s union and The Journal asserts that this is one of the first such policies of its kind in a major performing arts organization. The Boston Ballet, apparently is also negotiating such a compact.

The new policy would have ballerinas sign a declaration stating that their comments were not representative of the views of their employer and it would make clear that “in order to protect its interests, NYCB reserves the right to monitor postings that are available to the general public or those that are not privacy-protected about the company, its employees and its activities.” It would also require that dancers not post information about injuries suffered by other dancers or unauthorized photographs of people engaged in company business.

The downside of any such policy, of course, is that a method of communicating constantly with the ballet's audience would be dampened a bit at a time when connection to audience is king. The UK Daily Mail has labeled the policies "draconian." What do you think? —Ruth McCambridge

  • Geri Stengel

    Tweeting about a major donor: tough call between good sense and freedom of speech. Therein lies the problem with developing any social media policy. I