The provincial government is imposing a new social media policy for employees. They will now need approval and training should they be required to use sites such as Twitter or Facebook as part of their job.

During Premier Ed Stelmach's leadership review, he promised to do a better job communicating, including using social media sites.

Since then, several government Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as blogs have started up.

"There is a big role for social media in communication and we want to take advantage of that," said Tom Olsen, director of new media and Internet for the provincial government.

Now the government believes it's time for some guidelines to be implemented showing employees how they should conduct themselves in the Internet.

"We have to keep in mind we're still government and there are issues to keep in mind. Issues like privacy, issues like tone," said Olsen.

The government is not alone in developing social media policies. A number of large companies such as Telus are now imposing guidelines for how employees should conduct themselves online.

"It boils down to common sense," said Jim Johannsson, director of media relations for Telus. "A lot of team members don't realize how public their posts really are."

The government will train and appoint spokespeople who will represent government in social media. Policy documents state the government recognizes free speech but says employees cannot represent government on their own personal site.

With files from Kevin Armstrong