Social Media Policy

Approved by the president
Sept. 24, 2013

Policy Contact
director of marketing

SUNY Oneonta may authorize the use of social media sites on its behalf to advance the mission of the university and to engage with the campus, community, and alumni. Because social media, by their nature, may blur the line between personal and institutional voices, SUNY Oneonta has adopted a policy to guide the creation and use of official university social media.


The university has a responsibility to enhance and protect personal, professional and collegiate reputations. Standards with regard to social media help the university fulfill this responsibility by establishing practices to help users sustain effective social media sites.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to those who use social media to represent the university in an official capacity.

Policy Elaboration

To gain and retain recognition as an official university site, a social media site must:

  • be approved by the head of the unit for which it is proposed;
  • be made known to the Office of Communication and Marketing for the purpose of cataloging it and ensuring that its purpose is not already fulfilled by another official university site;
  • have an identified administrator; and
  • adhere to “Best Practices” as described below.

Best Practices

This section describes the minimum standards of conduct for those posting on behalf of the university

  • Acknowledge your identity. If you post on a social media platform on the university's behalf, acknowledge your role. (It is implicit that those who administer official university sites are acting on the university's behalf.) If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain topics in your role or to respond to others’ posts, ask your unit head before you post.
  • Have a plan. Consider messages, audiences, and goals as well as a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date. The Office of Communications can advise on content planning.
  • Protect the institutional voice. Posts on social media sites should remain professional in tone and in good taste. If you see unfavorable opinions, negative comments or criticism about the university, except as mandated by law, do not reply or try to have the post removed. Forward such information to the Office of Communication and Marketing.


This section provides general advice for those posting on behalf of the university.

  • Keep the public nature of the media in mind. Absolute privacy does not exist within social media. A post’s eventual audience is never predictable. Assume that anything that is shared online may become widely known. Search engines sometimes find posts years after they are created (even if they have since been deleted), and comments can be forwarded or copied. Consider this before posting so as to avoid alienating, harming, or provoking prospective students, current students, prospective employees, current employees and colleagues, peers or community members.
  • Strive for accuracy. It is better to verify information before posting it than to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to sources whenever possible.
  • Be respectful. Understand the content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or the university and its institutional voice.
  • Connect content to the university. Where possible, link your posts to a page on the institutional website. This promotes further engagement of audience members.
  • Be aware of liability. Those who post are responsible for their content. Individuals have been held liable for online commentary as defined by courts as proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous and obscene.


“Social medium” means any communication tool that exists to facilitate the dissemination of information through social interaction using extremely accessible and scalable electronic publishing techniques. Examples include, but are not limited to: wikis, blogs, vlogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, MySpace, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

“Post” means making any content accessible to others via a social medium; it also refers to such content.

“Administrator” means one who can edit, delete, post or make other substantive changes to content within a social medium, or direct others to do the same.

“Official university site” means a social media site identified as being an official instrument of the university.


Any social media site meeting the criteria noted in “Policy Elaboration” above shall be recognized as an official university site. The Office of Communication and Marketing shall maintain an online record of such sites. The responsibility for an official university site’s adherence to “Best Practices” as described herein rests with the site’s administrator.



Related Documents/Policies

SUNY Oneonta Social Media Directory

SUNY Oneonta Student Conduct Code

SUNY Oneonta Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy

New York State Information Technology Policy IT Best Practice Guideline: Acceptable Use of Information Technology (IT) Resources

Copyright Law of the United States

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

Terms of service of various social media providers

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