The following social media guidelines have been reviewed and approved by all academic and administrative leadership at the University of Colorado Denver, March 2018.
Social media is "any tool or service that uses the Internet to facilitate conversations."1 When used appropriately and strategically, social media allows people to connect in productive two-way conversations and creates unique online communities of engagement and information exchange. Although specific social media tools will evolve, current social media platforms include email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Ping, LinkedIn
The following guidelines serve as a resource to help you maximize the benefits of social media for professional and educational experiences without compromising academic, professional or university integrity.
Thinking about starting social media accounts If you’re interested in launching social media accounts please contact University Communications. We’ll provide you a consultation and recommend the best course of action for your university department, program or center.
You do have the ability to submit your content to University Communications in lieu of starting your own social accounts. This is often the best choice for many interested in better communication with the campus community.
When experiencing a social media crisis situation University Communications will assist with social media accounts and take steps to mitigate damage to the university brand when appropriate. This includes all school/college accounts across the CU Denver campus. The department will be granted access to those accounts in advance to allow quick assistance during a crisis. Schools and colleges should contact University Communications to establish access.
If you’re located deeper within the university community (e.g. program, department, center, etc.,) and you’d like to request the resources of University Communications during a brand crisis, immediately contact the digital engagement team within the department. Contact information can be found on the University Communications website.
One unique and valued aspect of social media is its virtual community. To be a valued member of the social media community, you should strive to offer valuable information, listen before engaging, and use respect when discussing differences. The following guidelines can enhance your experience as a social media community member.
Exhibit respect for community members: To be a valued member of the online community, you should exhibit respect for fellow community members. Differences in opinion can result in
Engage in productive two-way conversation: Because the purpose of social media is to engage in conversation with others through technology, you can think of this as a two-way process of sharing information and listening. The more valuable your information, the more likely people are to listen to what you have to say; the more you listen to others, the better you will understand what the community views as valuable information. Be sure to monitor your social media tool on a regular basis and respond to community members regularly. Additionally, link back to sites and posts provided by your community members to reinforce conversation and involvement. You are more likely to achieve your goals or sway others to your beliefs if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.
Maintain transparency and authenticity: Maintain a high level of transparency and authenticity in your online interactions with others. Avoid hiding your identity. Not only does obscuring your identity negate the value of social media as a community-building tool
Post accurate information: All posts and social media interactions should reflect accurate information. Always cite your sources and give credit where it is due. A benefit of social media is the ability to provide links to support your posts. You are responsible for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be copyright infringement, defamatory, proprietary, libelous, or obscene (as defined by the courts). Increasingly, employers are conducting Web searches on job candidates before extending offers.
Adopt a code of ethics: When building a social media site, consider adopting a code of ethics. When developing a community, a code of ethics will let community members know what will and will not be acceptable behavior to exhibit while engaging your community. Do no harm: Let your internet social networking do no harm to the university, the Department, the undergraduate or residency program, patients, or to yourself, whether you are navigating those networks on or off work hours.
Be aware that social media content is not private: Privacy does not exist in social media, so take precautions. Read all privacy agreements posted by social media sites before engaging in social media use. There may be important information in these agreements indicating how your information can be used. There is no such thing as a “private” social media site: search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Material posted online can be cut, copied, pasted and saved by members of the online community and in some cases, is used by companies for marketing purposes. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed. Post only pictures that you would be comfortable sharing with the general public (current and future peers, employers, etc.). Be aware that your affiliation with external partner hospitals and department within the University of Colorado are public knowledge whether you disclose it or not. Even personal social media posts can be inappropriately associated with your department and the university. Faculty, staff
Make sure it passes the “Sunday morning paper” test: Would you be content with your comments (and your name) being on the front page of the Sunday paper? If not, think twice before posting. Likewise, if the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the telephone, or in another medium, then it is also not acceptable for a social networking site. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable to the CU community. You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered sensitive. All communications should meet professional standards and remain consistent with university and hospital value behaviors and includes, but is not limited to, comments that may be offensive based on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, disability, or veteran's status.
When to use social media: Don’t let social media interfere with your duties as a part of the University of Colorado in any capacity.
1 Solis, B. "
2 Department of the Army, Madigan Healthcare System, Subject: Commander’s Policy #61: Staff Use of Social Media and other Internet Sites.