Guidelines for Members of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators (the Company) engaging in social media activities

An introduction to Social Media

Social media is an umbrella term that refers to social networking websites and “Apps” – programmes developed for smartphones or tablets – such as Facebook, WhatsApp, X (previously Twitter), LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram, to name a few.

The term “social” is used to describe communication tools that allow interactive one-to-many broadcast communications.  Unlike traditional broadcast communications, where the audience can only watch and listen, social media permits audiences to respond and engage in a conversation.  This is similar to conversations that might occur at a dinner or seminar, but on a global scale across the internet and is the reason why there is such high interest in social media and the desire by so many to write content and engage in online conversations.  No longer are you expected simply to absorb information, but more frequently users are expected to contribute, make comments, share the information with others and in some cases, even recreate the content into another medium.

It is this instant global-reach capability, which makes social media tools important for Livery Companies and personal communications.

Why use Social Media?

Social media can be used for many different purposes, for example:

  • to encourage and develop communications within the Company as well as to external addressees
  • to provide a more engaging and intellectually stimulating form of communication between events
  • to help enhance the reputation of the Company in online channels

Please note that ONLY the Master and individuals acting under her/his specific authority can speak for the Company in social media.

We want to support and guide you

With channels for communicating via social media continuing to develop quickly and gaining widespread usage, the Company is keen to encourage its Members and its online followers to engage in thought and discussion on social media.  For those who are interested and keen to do so, the Company wants to support its Members to engage online in a proper and balanced way for both the Members’ interests and those of the Company.  The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that Members enjoy the benefits of social media while avoiding the pitfalls.

While it is appreciated that a Member’s home life is strictly personal, Members do not cease to be a Freeman or Liveryman outside Company functions or the City of London and their online actions should not bring the reputation of the Company or the City of London into disrepute.

The basics of Social Media

Detailed below are some general principles that may support Members’ engagement:

  1. Respect the Water Conservators’ Brand

In any organisation, it is important to have brand consistency and the Company is no exception.  The Company logo can only be used with the permission of The Master, Wardens or Clerk of the Company, who will ensure it is used correctly.  Members must ensure that all guidelines are used appropriately at all times.

  1. Do not jeopardise the reputation of the Company

These guidelines are designed to encourage members to engage in social media in their own personal style without jeopardising the reputation of the Company.

  1. Google never forgets

Members should be aware that all content that is posted online could be visible for a long time.

  1. Post with care

The algorithms used by social media can inadvertently promote misinformation, conspiracy theories and polarizing viewpoint, so posting should be done with care.  They also encourage the poster to post more and hit other sites, something that may lead to excessive time spent on social media.


Be transparent

An honest or dishonest remark will be quickly noticed on social media.  If Members are commenting on the Company and its activities, they should consider identifying themselves as a Water Conservator.

 Use judgement wisely

Ensure efforts to be transparent don’t violate privacy, confidentiality, and/or copyright guidelines and comply with relevant legislation.  Be especially careful when commenting on events held under the “Chatham House Rule”: “when a meeting, or part thereof, is held under The Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.[1]”  Further guidance on compliance issues can be sought from the Clerk or Lead of the Communications Group.

Take extra care with photographs

Members should only post photographic material on any social media platform with the explicit consent of anyone included in the photograph.  Special care needs to be taken when reposting images, to ensure the images are not subject to copyright or fake images used to inflame opinion.

Remember, it’s a conversation

Members are encouraged to engage online as they would talk to real people in professional situations.

Take personal responsibility

Individual comments are the responsibility of individual Members.


Do not follow – lead

There can be a fine line between healthy debate and misplaced reaction.  Members should seek to try to add value in any online comments they make.  Constructive criticism should be considered wisely.

Do not hide a mistake – admit it

Members should please try and ensure that what they post is factually correct and accurate.  However, if a mistake is made, members should be upfront and be quick with their correction, deleting if necessary, but be aware that an initial post may still be available or have been recorded at the time of posting.

Do not post something with which a Member might be uncomfortable

If it makes you pause, PAUSE.  Members should think about whether they would be comfortable for others, including family or fellow Members of the Company, to see their post.  If you are about to publish something that makes you the slightest bit uncomfortable, the Company’s advice is DON’T.

Members must not use the Company to promote their own charities, or private business unless explicitly endorsed by the Company.

Members must not link the Company to their political views.


 The Court

April 2024