Social Media Guidelines

 

These guidelines are related to the publication of and commentary on social media by employees of Northeast State Community College and its related entities ("Northeast State"). For the purposes of these guidelines, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, wiki's, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. These guidelines are in addition to and complements any existing or future guidelines regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the internet.

Northeast State employees are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with these guidelines and other related policies. Northeast State employees are subject to these guidelines to the extent they identify themselves as a Northeast State employee (other than as an incidental mention of place of employment in a personal blog on topics unrelated to Northeast State).

Before engaging in work related social media, employees must obtain the permission of the Office of Community Relations or the Office of Marketing. Also, you should ask yourself several questions:

  • What are your goals in using Social Media for yourself or department?
  • Which Social Media Tools will you use (Facebook, Twitter, etc)?
  • Who will post and administer the account?
  • Are you committed to maintain the account and be an active participant?

Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary.

All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that Northeast State employees must otherwise follow.

By participating with Northeast State in social networking communities, you agree to indemnify Northeast State against any damages, losses, liabilities, judgments, costs or expenses arising out of a claim by a third party relating to any posts you have made.

Related Policies 

The following are relevant college policies you should review:

06:01:00 – Community Relations and Marketing
06:02:00 – Computer Resources
06:03:00 – Duplication of Copyrighted Materials
06:13:00 – Conflicts of Interest

Setting up Social Media 

Social media identities, logon ID's and user names may not use Northeast State's name without prior approval from the Office of Community Relations or the Office of Marketing. 

Your profile on social media sites must be consistent with your profile on the Northeast State website or other Northeast State publications. Profile information may be obtained from the College's Web site or the Policies and Procedures manual.

Be careful out there 

It's perfectly acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it's not okay to publish confidential information. Confidential information includes things such as unpublished details about students, grades, financial information, etc. We must respect the wishes of our students regarding the confidentiality of related information. Please remember that all laws and Northeast State policies apply, including but not limited to Privacy, HIPAA, Security and Safety. We suggest that you take time to review these polices. Please consult your manager if you have questions about the appropriateness of your comment. 

Protect your own privacy 

Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to what would be on the Northeast State website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limit access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see. 

Be Honest 

Do not blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen names. We believe in transparency and honesty. Use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for Northeast State. Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty - or dishonesty. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully and also be cautious about disclosing personal details. 

Respect copyright laws 

It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including Northeast State own copyrights and brands. You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else's work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source. It is good general practice to link to others' work rather than reproduce it. 

Respect your audience, Northeast State, and your coworkers 

The public in general, and Northeast State's employees and students, reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don't say anything contradictory or in conflict with the Northeast State website. Don't be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory - such as politics and religion. Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of Northeast State. 

Controversial Issues 

If you see misrepresentations made about Northeast State in the media or on social sites, you may point that out. Always do so with respect and with the facts. If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party. Avoid arguments and make sure what you are saying is factually correct. If you are unsure how to respond please contact the Office of Community Relations or the Office of Marketing. 

Be the first to respond to your own mistakes 

If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. Please do not delete the post entirely but offer corrections. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly - better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action. 

Think About Consequences 

It’s all about judgment: using social media to disparage or embarrass Northeast State, co-workers, or students is dangerous and ill-advised. 

Disclaimers 

Many social media users include a prominent disclaimer saying who they work for, but that they're not speaking officially. If you list Northeast State as your employer on a personal Social Media site or account, you’ll need to add a disclaimer. If you do not identify yourself as being affiliated in any way with Northeast State, this guideline may not apply. 

The Office of Community Relations or Office of Marketing can provide you with applicable disclaimer language and assist with determining where and how to use that.

Don't forget your day job. 

Make sure that social media does not interfere with your job or commitments to students, faculty, and staff. 

Social Media Tips 

The following tips are not mandatory, but will contribute to successful use of social media.

The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun is to write about what you know. There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about.
Quality matters. Use a spell-checker. If you're not design-oriented, ask someone who is whether your blog looks decent, and take his or her advice on how to improve it.

The speed of being able to publish your thoughts is both a great feature and a great downfall of social media. The time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. If in doubt over a post, or if something does not feel right, either let it sit and look at it again before publishing it, or ask someone else to look at it first. 

Enforcement 

Policy violations will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination for cause.