Rackspace Social Media Guide
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Rackspace Social Media Playbook & Guide

Rackspace Simple Social Media Guide for Engineers, Rackers and the world!

We want Rackers to publicly share their awesome stories and skills. We want your experiences in devops, tales of MacGyver-esque engineering, info about little known cool new features we've deployed to production, your contribution to awesome open source work or anything you can think of. We want to increase external communication and collaboration and we need you to be involved.

When we say "social media" we mean Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Stack Overflow, etc. We've released this guidebook for you and the community as a whole: changes, updates and feedback are always welcome.

But I am [your name here] and I can say whatever the heck I want!

Well, that is true, but Rackspace has (and you should have) a few guidelines, that when applied will make it a lot easier for everyone involved (the public, fellow Rackers, the SEC). We want you to be shown in the best light possible. When you look good, Rackspace looks good.

We've categorized these into two buckets: Racker Values and Hard and Fast Rules.

  1. Hard and Fast Rules mean that all of us will have legal problems, and potentially run afoul of the SEC.
  2. Racker Values are tied to our core values and represent the values and ideals we wish to present to the world.

Hard and Fast Rules

  1. Avoid mentioning our stock or using RAX in anything public.

    Since RAX is our stock ticker symbol, legally speaking, what you can or can't talk about becomes a gray area pretty quickly (even if your profile is private). What is or isn't public and how people will take what you say is never a certain thing; it could be a huge headache for everyone involved. Not talking about the stock is really the best course of action for everyone. RackLaw is busy enough fighting patent trolls and the last thing they want to do is to deal with a call from the SEC.

  2. If a competitor is experiencing an outage, leave it alone.

    Don't taunt them or tell the world how great we are - our promoters always go to bat for us. We get angry when people poke at us and try to steal customers during outages, so we shouldn't do it either. We need to be the example of professionalism when it comes to scenarios like this, otherwise it will bite us in the ass when we have an outage.

    This also applies to open source contributions by other companies. Another company might open source a project that we disagree with for some reason (poor performance, terrible security, unmaintainable code) but there are many ways to approach it to be constructive rather than condescending or argumentative.

  3. Don't let your desire to help lead to divulging trade secrets or committing to performance promises.

    Please, never talk about customers or partners unless you are certain it is public information, and even then triple check it. Things could go terribly for us if we slip up. help@rackspace.com is your friend - ask them - they probably have the answer.

Any specific numbers/processes that could be useful to the community should be whipped up into a blog post but we should be careful to vet this information with the help of other Rackers: the social media team at @Rackspace or help@rackspace.com would be delighted to help for articles headed to the official Rackspace blog. Likewise, the DevOps blog editors are champing at the bit to steward your technical articles out to the world. We want to help you let everyone know how cool the stuff you do is, and we don't want legal to get angry at any of us or be sad.

Racker Values

  1. Be as helpful as possible.

    We were all beginners at one point, and "RTFM" and "man strace" were neither helpful nor constructive answers. If that's all you have to contribute, stop and get help, or refer it to help@rackspace.com. Be kind, constructive, and informative in your responses. Remember: It doesn't cost anything to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Let everyone know you are a Racker.

    We should be proud to work here and we never want it to look like we are hiding our affiliation. Fanatical Support (you know, what we sell) is a team effort anyway, so publicizing your relationship with Rackspace will also allow you - if necessary - to call in Racker reinforcements without confusing the public.

  3. Be yourself: do what you love and do it well.

    If you want to host the worlds largest dubstep (we don't judge) fan site, do it like you mean it. However, don't let your passion turn you into a raving jerk. It is easy to get caught up in a debate, be the better human, it works out in the long term. If you can't let something go, be persuasive with substance, not combative. Walk away, think about it for a while. Remember: While a customer or user's perception may be subjective, it’s still very real and should be respected.

  4. Be a useful part of the conversation.

    Avoid arguing with people. Instead, provide well thought out constructive suggestion, with references if possible.

  5. Agree to disagree.

    Sure, winning an argument or proving that you're right might give you an ego-boost, but it doesn't mean you won't come off looking like a jerk. Invite folks to a private conversation and agree to disagree if you must. Nobody likes arrogance or condescension; except trolls.

  6. Don't be a troll.

  7. Be willing to admit when you're wrong.

    None of us are perfect. Owning up to mistakes will give you more credibility and people will value your opinion more.

  8. "Oops, this looks bad."

    If a situation arises that you don't know how to handle or you think you might have just done something terrible, let our friends on the Social Support team help - DM @Rackspace on Twitter or email help@rackspace.com right away. Getting in front of something or having a little guidance is good for all of us (the Social Support team literally watches social networks 24 hours a day).

  9. Share information and ideas and ask for help.

    We all curate lists of friends with great skill sets - use those relationships and reciprocate in kind. If you are having a problem that can be abstracted not to give away any specific secret information, talk about it and find the best solution.

  10. Don't "astroturf".

We actively discourage all forms "astroturfing" online. Do not up vote, retweet, +1, like, etc. in online forums unless you - as a Racker and individual - find that the material is of merit, interest and value.

  1. Get out there and be public.

You make your own name. Rackspace can give you the environment, support, and tools to do amazing things but it is up to you to put them to use and share that experience with the world. It helps us all when you get out there and have a positive impact in communities and user groups. Never be afraid to interact - just be mindful of how you do it and ask for help when you need it.

  1. Think before you tweet or post.

Have some situational awareness - before posting a picture to instagram of your awesome team outing at the bar, think about how that could be perceived by customers who are in the middle of a crisis. Outages aren't just widespread things that affect all customers. They can also include isolated problems that affect a handful of customers, which are just as real and disruptive. The last thing they want to see or hear about is your awesome outing during a disruption.

Legal Stuff:

  • Copyright 2012-2015 Rackspace US, Inc.
  • This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Please share, remix and adopt.
  • Pull requests always welcome.