Appendix D. Guidance for Bloggers
Properly Request a Blog
All GSA blogs must be requested by contacting the Office of Communication’s social media team at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will help you develop a strategy, get necessary permissions and ensure that your blog has a link to our mandatory Blog Posting Requirements and Disclaimers on this page.
Let People Know Who You Are
Blogs succeed when visitors feel they have reached a trusted source of information. Let readers know who the blogger is from a professional standpoint, but do not release personal information that the general public shouldn't know, for example a home address or phone number.
Be prepared to post content on a regular basis. This may mean daily or weekly, but at least every two weeks. Let readers know what the posting schedule is. Be realistic in preparing a schedule. It's always better to increase frequency over the life of a blog. If a blog remains idle for 60 days or more, GSA reserves the right to take it offline.
Be prepared to make time and devote resources to moderating all comments that readers post. Read every comment. If you need time to research responses, tell your readers the time frame they can expect to receive your response.
Invite guest contributors. This is a great way to enhance value without increasing workload. Announce who the guest contributors will be.
Be prepared to respond on the blog to the posted comments, especially negative ones. Blogs build credibility and readership when they're as open as possible.
Strategize About How to Handle Frequent Questions
If the same questions are posed repeatedly, consider creating boilerplate responses to the questions.
Be aware that there are a variety of ways people will find the blog (via search engines, search and other email alerts, RSS feeds, various social networking sites, bookmarking sites, and email from another person). This means individuals will often read only a headline (or title), or a headline and a couple of sentences. The more intriguing and relevant the headline of the blog and the content that follows, the more likely the content is to build readership.
Blog Posting Requirements and Disclaimers
All GSA blogs should contain the entire notice listed below. If the notice itself is not on the main page, then a prominent link should be on the blog home page that clearly identifies the attachment as "Privacy, Security, and Legal Notice." The sections below identify required statements and disclaimers for GSA-sponsored blogs. These statements, or links to pages containing them, should be on the main page of every GSA sponsored blog.
(1) General policy. The U.S. General Services Administration manages this blog to provide a forum for improving communications with our employees, government customers, our commercial suppliers, and the general public. This blog will discuss (subject matter of blog, e.g. information technology, schedules, communications, building issues, etc.). This blog use policy is subject to amendment or modification at any time to ensure the blog's continued use is consistent with its intended purpose as a limited forum.
(2) Posting policy. You are encouraged to share your comments, ideas, and concerns. This is a moderated blog, and GSA will only post comments from bloggers older than 13 that relate to topics on (Blog Subject Matter). GSA will review all comments before posting them. GSA will not post comments that contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening or harassing language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups. GSA will not post comments that are clearly off-topic, that promote services or products, or that promote or oppose any political party, person campaigning for elected office, or any ballot proposition. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in the comment being removed. Communications made through the blog’s email and messaging system will in no way constitute a legal or official notice or comment to GSA or to any official or employee of GSA for any purpose. The content of all comments are released into the public domain unless the commenter clearly states otherwise, so do not submit anything you do not wish to be broadcast to the general public. GSA does not discriminate against any views, but reserves the right not to post comments that do not adhere to these standards. GSA will make best efforts to review comments and post them as quickly as possible.
(3) Product references by blog host. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other nongovernmental organizations or individuals that are included in this blog are provided solely for the information of individuals using this blog. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of GSA, the U.S. government, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying GSA or government endorsement or approval of any product, person or service.
(4) Records management. All blogs conform and comply with the agency’s records maintenance and disposition system.
(5) Linking policy. The (Blog Name) blog may include useful hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations and individuals' blogs. All hypertext links conform to all points in Section 6. (Blog Name) provides these links and pointers solely for the blog users' information and convenience.
When a user selects a link to an outside website, he/she is leaving the (Blog Name) blog and is subject to the privacy and security policies of the owner/sponsor of the outside website. Hyperlinks to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained on those linked pages.
(a) GSA and (Blog Name) do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on a linked website.
(b) GSA and (Blog Name) do not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites, and do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.
(c) GSA and (Blog Name) cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked websites. Request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked website. Those who provide comments are responsible for the copyright of the text they provide.
(d) GSA and (Blog Name) are not responsible for transmissions users receive from linked websites.
(e) GSA and (Blog Name) do not guarantee that outside websites comply with Section 508 (Accessibility Requirements) of the Rehabilitation Act.
(6) Copyright information. Links to GSA blogs are welcomed. Unless a copyright is indicated, information on GSA's blogs is in the public domain and may be copied and distributed without permission. Citation to the U.S. General Services Administration as the source of the information is appreciated.
If a copyright is indicated on a video, photo, graphic or other material, obtain permission to copy the material from the original source.
(7) Public affairs. If you want verification or a transcript of information released on GSA blogs or if you have questions or comments about the information presented, contact GSA's Office of Communications and Marketing's Public Affairs Office. Reporters can submit questions to the Public Affairs Office through normal query channels; they should refrain from submitting questions on blogs as comments. GSA will not post questions from reporters. Public Affairs may be contacted at 202-501-1231.
(Blog Name) is unable to post comments from children younger than 13 because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. If you're 12 or younger, you can email us rather than posting a comment on (Blog Name).
The (Blog Host Office Name) manages this blog as a portal for information from the U.S. General Services Administration. However, information posted on this blog is not official policy of GSA and will in no way grant anyone any rights, privileges or standing on any matter. All information should be verified through official channels at GSA. For employee contact information at GSA, check our contacts page.