NYC Ballet considers social media guidelines

March 15, 2011 3:25:13 PM PDT
New York City Ballet wants to govern its employees' posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social-media outlets.

The policy would apply to all its artistic and administrative employees.

The company is negotiating the policy as part of contract negotiations with the dancer's union, the American Guild of Musical Artists.

NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown confirms the company is considering the policy, which would be among the first in the country for a performing arts company.

The company is considering the policy because of increased use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Tweets from dancer Devin Alberda have apparently been a factor in sparking the policy consideration.

"Nothing demonstrates ballet's relevance to young audiences quite like Jerome Robbins' I'm Old Fashioned," he tweeted.

In another post after his boss was arrested for drunk driving, he tweeted "Thank goodness riding the subway while intoxicated isn't a misdemeanor offense."

Criticizing the boss comes with consequences, but free speech is the law so the question is what kind of social media policies can corporations or performing arts companies actually put in place?

Alberda is out of town following performances in Swan Lake, but I talked to him on the phone and he said that he tweets to connect with a younger audience and to help maintain ballet's relevance in 2011.

The social media policy is still being drafted. At this point, the only proposed rule centers on banning comment about dancer injuries. There's also no agreed upon penalty for violating that proposed rule.

The union leadership doesn't see the need for a policy, but also doesn't object as long as the policy doesn't over-police the dancers.