Media

Social Media Policy

 

Title: Social Media Policy
Policy Owner: University Communications
Applies to: Faculty and Staff
Campus Applicability: All Campuses
Effective Date: June 15, 2018
For More Information, Contact Office of University Communications
Contact Information: (860) 486-3530
Official Website: https://communications.uconn.edu/

This policy establishes standards for the use of University-affiliated social media accounts and provides guidelines for differentiating an employee’s personal voice on social media from their professional connection to the University. Social media is a common and important communication tool for the University, as well as its faculty and staff.

This policy is a guide for professional and civil communications when communicating on social media accounts directly affiliated with the University. Specific guidance on how to establish, monitor and use such accounts can be found on UConn’s Social Media Brand Guidelines.

In addition, this policy provides guidance on communicating in a professional and civil manner related to personal social media accounts to the extent that such activities are covered by existing University policies or may be construed as the representations or opinions of the University. See UConn’s Policy on Communication with External Media.

Use of Social Media

The University fully affirms the rights of its employees to voice their own opinions and otherwise express themselves through their own personal social media accounts. This policy is not intended to and does not restrict an employee’s ability to engage in all forms of lawfully protected speech on social media. Personal use of social media should not interfere with job duties, responsibilities to the University and others affiliated with the University, or co-workers.

  • Personal Disclaimer: To avoid confusion between professional and personal social media activity employees are encouraged to include a statement on personal social media accounts that acknowledges statements and messages made from the account reflect their personal views only, and not those of the University.
  • University Standards for Individuals: When communicating on social media, it is important to act in manner that is consistent with applicable University policies.
  • No University Marks: The University does not authorize individuals to use University logos or trademarks on their social media accounts, therefore no University logos or trademarks should be incorporated into posts on personal social media accounts except as permitted by University policy. See UConn’s Trademark Licensing and Branding Standards.
  • Sharing University News: University faculty and staff are encouraged to repost and share publicly available information about the University on social media. Sharing the original source of the information is preferred, such as press releases, articles on UConn Today, etc. Personal social media accounts should not be used for announcing official University news if not otherwise announced publicly. Formal news announcements should be made by the University.
  • Maintain Confidentiality: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University, its students, its alumni, or fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow University policies and federal requirements, such as HIPAA and FERPA.
  • Rights of Others: Content shared on social media must respect the copyright and other intellectual property rights of others, even if the content was shared online by others.
  • Strive for Accuracy: Check the facts before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. See UConn’s Editorial Guidelines.
  • Terms of Use: Be aware of terms of service for the social media platforms. The service may be “free” to use, but that use is subject to contractual terms binding on the user.
  • Emergency Notifications: University Communications is the official source of information during emergencies and other major campus events. It is recommended that University faculty and staff share or repost messages from University Communications during these moments to ensure information is communicated accurately and consistently.
  • Basic Tips: Basic tips for using social media are often the most important for avoiding unwanted issues.

A few helpful reminders include:

Be Active: Social media should be social. Engaging with others can be rewarding, when done constructively. Sometimes it is better to not engage too.

Be Respectful: Social media is a unique social environment. Be respectful of others’ views, regardless of how unartfully or inappropriately communicated.

Think Twice: Social media is a public platform. Consider whether you would make a statement on social media at a conference or to the media before posting.

Non-Compliance

This policy is intended to help inform University faculty and staff of their existing responsibilities to use social media in a responsible manner. A failure to conform to the guidelines established by this policy could result in disciplinary action, personal liability or other penalties, particularly where social media is used in a manner that violates University policy, laws regarding the privacy of information, infringes on copyright or the intellectual property rights of others, or that is threatening, harassing or otherwise illegal.

Additional Notes

This policy was prepared by University Communications to apply to all forms of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, YouTube, Flickr, text messages, and other, lesser known platforms. These standards may be updated from time to time. Active users of social media at the University should regularly consult these standards.

As explained above, this policy is intended to complement existing University policies and guidelines.

Questions on these standards or the use of social media generally should be directed to University Communications.

Policy Revised:  November 29, 2018

Policy Created*: June 18, 2018

*Approved by the Vice President of Communications