Social media guidelines
Blogs, digital media and social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and iTunes U, offer new and exciting opportunities for Brock University faculty, staff, students and alumni to share knowledge, express creativity and connect with people who have common interests.
When participating in social media it’s important to always be upfront and honest about who you are and what you represent, use common sense before you post or comment, and respect the values and etiquette of communities
We’ve put together the following guidelines to help you use social media effectively with your personal and professional reputation, and university policies in mind:
- If you are representing Brock in social media, identify yourself as a Brock faculty or staff member.
- If you participate in or maintain a social media site on behalf of the university, clearly state your role and goals.
- Never conceal your identity for the purpose of promoting Brock on social websites.
- Ask your supervisor about circumstances when you are empowered and when you may need approval to respond directly to users on social sites.
- For information about transparency in online communities, read the Social Media Council’s “Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit."
- If you participate in a social network, such as Facebook, or comment on someone’s blog, make sure you are contributing information that will be of use to readers.
- Don’t post self-promoting material or make "sales pitches" on social websites.
- Make sure that you have all the facts before you post.
- To avoid having to post corrections or make retractions later, fact-check all information with sources before you post.
- Cite and link to your sources whenever possible.
- If you have any question about the appropriateness of posting on certain topics in your role as a Brock employee, talk to your supervisor before you post.
- If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly.
- Unlike writing for print, writing for the web should be quick, concise and easy to follow for screen-weary eyes. Read these tips on writing for the web.
- Always respect the dignity of others and engage in civil and thoughtful discourse of opposing ideas.
- Post meaningful, respectful comments – don’t spam or make remarks that are off-topic or offensive.
- If you ever feel angry or impassioned about a subject, refrain from posting until you are calm and level-headed.
- Always give proper credit for other people's work and make sure you have the right to use something before you publish. If you do not have the right to publish someone else's work, either under the Copyright Act or under some sort of licence, you must ask for permission. If you do not receive permission, do not use their work.
- Be aware of your responsibility as a faculty or staff member to uphold Brock's Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy.
- Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Brock, its students, its alumni or your fellow employees.
- If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure that they cannot be identified.
- As a guideline, don’t post anything that you would not present at a conference.
- While you want to be honest about who you are, don’t provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you.
- Don’t list your home address or telephone number or any other confidential personal information.
- As stated in the Brock’s Computer Use Policy, university computers and your work time are to be used for university-related business.
- It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for information or working with others to resolve a problem.
- Maintain your personal sites on your own time and own computer.
- Familiarize yourself with Brock’s Institutional Brand Identity Policy before posting Brock logos, images and content in social media.
- If you have been authorized by your supervisor to create a Brock social media site, video or other content for posting online - and it is property owned by Brock University - please contact Brock’s social media co-ordinator to review. Once reviewed and approved, the co-ordinator will provide an approved logo and other images to ensure consistency with Brock’s brand.
- Don't use the Brock name, logo, athletic logo or any other Brock marks or images on any personal online sites you might maintain.
- Don't use Brock’s name, logos, marks or images to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.
- Read our tips on monitoring the web and social media.
- Assign at least one administrator who can regularly monitor postings and update content.
- Aim for regular, consistent postings and updates, at least once a week and, depending on the platform, more frequently.
- If you make contact information available so that questions can be submitted, be sure to have the ability to respond in a timely fashion.
- In the event of an emergency or crisis situation, administrators of official Brock University social media accounts are asked to share only official information provided by the main Brock University social media accounts and shared in official University messages.
- Sharing information found online or not approved by Brock may lead to false or confusing information reaching the community and spreading online. Unless you are sharing official communication regarding the emergency or crisis, the page should remain silent and all inquiries directed to the official Brock University pages.
If you are unsure about what information to post or about what social media platform would be best to get your message out, please contact Marketing and Communications for guidance.
For any faculty or staff members who wish to establish and maintain an official Brock social media presence, please complete the Social Media Strategy Form, designed to help you develop a strategy for best results.
This working draft is being developed by University Marketing and Communications. If you have suggestions, please contact University social media.