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Social Media

2.26 Social Media
Year Adopted
2013
Revised
N/A

Policy

College employees who use social media (“Users”) should know the responsibilities and obligations which are associated with access to social media, particularly when the College’s computer systems, networks, and/or employee time are being used, but the College does not seek to regulate Users’ purely personal uses of social media which do not involve College resources or affect College employment.

Procedure

  1. Social Media Defined: Social media are forms of electronic communication, such as Web sites for social networking and microblogging, through which users create or participate in online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, videos, and other content.

  2. General Expectations for Employees:

    1. Follow the law: All uses of social media through the College’s computer systems, networks, and employee time shall follow applicable laws, including the statutes and rules relating to Ethics in Public Service, privacy law, and intellectual property right law, and applicable social media site standards. Users shall also adhere to the College’s Information and Communication Resources Acceptable Use Policy (Chapter 3, Section 9). Content which is illegal, threatening, harassing, obscene, or defamatory is prohibited. The College’s social media shall not be used to support or oppose political candidates or propositions, for lobbying, or for private commercial purposes.

    2. Observe professional standards: Users shall comply with this Policy & Procedure and meet the same professional expectations and maintain the same workplace standards of behavior online as are expected and required offline or for in-person interactions. Users must avoid any action when using social media which unreasonably interferes with the College accomplishing its mission and objectives or with the employee fulfilling her/his job responsibilities. Violations which give just cause for discipline may be subject to disciplinary action, even if they are part of personal or non- workplace activities. Questions about applicable standards should be referred to the employee’s supervisor, who should seek further advice and direction as appropriate.

    3. Protect identifying personal information: Only information that is appropriate for the public should be posted online. Users must not reveal confidential personal information about themselves or other persons, such as Social Security numbers, student identification numbers, home addresses, personal phone numbers or other contact information, names of family members, where children go to school, or financial institution information.

    4. Respect others’ copyright and intellectual property rights: Authorization for use must be obtained from individuals and organizations before posting or otherwise using their writings, photographs, audiovisual works, audio recordings, trademarks, or other intellectual property, unless such authorization is not legally required—such as under the “fair use” exemption or for works in the public domain. Questions regarding copyright guidelines should be directed to the employee’s supervisor, who in turn may consult the Learning Resources Center.

    5. Respect College time and property: Employee uses of College computers, networks, and time while at work are reserved for College-related business, as approved by supervisors and in accordance with the Information and Communication Resources Acceptable Use Policy. Social networking unrelated to College business must be done on personal time using personal computers or devices supported by commercial network assets, except that occasional use of College resources may be permissible if the use is brief, infrequent, and otherwise complies with applicable law and rules.

    6. Understand your personal responsibility; be accurate: Employees are personally responsible for the content they publish online, which will be publicly accessible for an extended amount of time. Do not pretend to be someone else or use a fake name. Before posting, get the facts straight, and review content for grammatical and spelling errors. If you make a significant mistake, admit and correct it. If you can correct the original post, do so and be clear that you are making a correction. If you need to add an amended post, do so.

    7. Remember your audience; Be respectful and constructive: Since social media are potentially available to anyone, review the content before posting to try to ensure that it is respectful, fulfills appropriate purposes, and will not alienate, harm, or unnecessarily provoke anyone. Content contributed to a social media site may encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas, so view comments or concepts you disagree with as an opportunity for candid and respectful dialogue.

    8. Communicate appropriately with other employees: Employees may not use sites or media to communicate among themselves on College business unless this usage has been approved by the College or their supervisor.

    9. Think before you submit; does your post pass common sense tests? There is no expectation of privacy on any social networking site, and posted material may be available through other sites even after it has been taken down, replaced, or updated on the original site. Only post information, images, and other content after you are comfortable with it being completely public and archived indefinitely by others. If your content would not be appropriate for a face-to-face or telephone conversation, or if you would not be comfortable seeing or defending it in the news media, then it probably is inappropriate for a social networking site.

    10. Appropriately withhold/ disclose College affiliation: When participating in social media in a private capacity (not as part of College employment), an employee is strongly advised against identifying oneself as a College employee or referring to College employment matters. However, when an employee is nevertheless identified as a College employee or reference is made to a College employment matter, the employee should clarify that his/her post or statement is of a personal nature and does not necessarily represent the views of the College.

    11. Appropriately use College logos and avoid endorsements: On non-College sites employees shall not use College logos, trademarks, or images or make any endorsements of products, causes, or political positions in the College’s name. Questions regarding proper use of College logos and associated materials should be directed to the College Relations Department.

    12. Be respectful and appropriate: Employees should always, even when acting as private individuals, be respectful of co-workers, students, administrators, and other institutions and organizations, especially those affiliated with the College.

  3. Specific Guidelines for Using College Social Media Platforms:

    1. Obtaining Authorization:

      1. The College Relations Department is authorized to administer and exercise control over any College participation in any social media site, platform, or application, and also may sub-authorize or delegate such authority. Anyone acting as a College employee who creates or maintains a social media account on behalf of a College department, organization, or other entity or activity (the “responsible operator”) must first obtain approval from the College Relations Department and give that department the highest level of administrative control and/or access. Administrators of sites created prior to adoption of this Procedure must promptly seek such approval and authorization and provide such control/ access.

      2. Only individuals who have been so authorized by their supervisor or the Department of College Relations may send or post messages on social networking sites on behalf of the College or while acting as College employees.

    2. Maintenance and Monitoring: If a College department, organization, or other entity or activity creates or maintains a social media account, the responsible operator must maintain the validity and security of that account and regularly monitor the account to assure appropriate usage and protect against unauthorized or inappropriate usage. Social media demand a high level of responsiveness, and so the responsible operator is expected to monitor the account and respond as necessary during regular College workdays.

    3. College Monitoring: The College reserves the right to monitor and approve or disapprove any employee use of social media which appears to be made on its behalf.

    4. College Identifications: The responsible administrator for a social media account shall include thereon an appropriate official image or identifying mark as designated or approved by the College Relations Department. An individual employee who participates in social media on behalf of the College shall include her/his name and College job title.

    5. Terms of Service: Users should obey the Terms of Service of whatever social media platform(s) they are using.

    6. Use of Photographs and Videos:

      1. All photographs and videos used in College posts shall be obtained from, or approved or authorized by, the College Relations Department. When Users submit images for approval, these become part of the College’s images library that any other authorized User may draw from. The College Relations Department may impose conditions (e.g., appropriate image resolution) for its approval.

      2. Authorization for use of photographs, videos, trademarks, or images owned by others must also be obtained from them before such use.

    7. Social Media Comments: The College generally encourages interactions from social media users, but it is not responsible for comments or postings made on College sites by non-employees. The College reserves the right, but assumes no obligation, to remove content and/or comments which it deems to be inconsistent with its mission or otherwise unsuitable. Messages which promote commercial or other private for-profit ventures, or political positions, are not permitted.