SUNY Oneonta may authorize the use of social media sites on its behalf to advance the mission of the college 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 college social media.
The college has a responsibility to enhance and protect personal, professional and collegiate reputations. Standards with regard to social media help the college 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 college in an official capacity.
To gain and retain recognition as an official college 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 Communications for the purpose of cataloging it and ensuring that its purpose is not already fulfilled by another official college site;
- Have an identified administrator; and
- Adhere to “Best Practices” as described below.
This section describes the minimum standards of conduct for those posting on behalf of the college.
- Acknowledge your identity. If you post on a social media platform on the college’s behalf, acknowledge your role. (It is implicit that those who administer official college sites are acting on the college’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 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 college, except as mandated by law, do not reply or try to have the post removed. Forward such information to the director of communications.
This section provides general advice for those posting on behalf of the college.
- 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 college and its institutional voice.
- Connect content to the college. 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 defined by courts as proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous and obscene.
“Social medium” is defined as 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” is defined as making any content accessible to others via a social medium; it also refers to such content.
“Administrator” is defined as 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 college site” is defined as a social media site identified as being an official instrument of the college.
Any social media site meeting the criteria noted in “Policy Elaboration” above shall be recognized as an official college site. The Office of Communications shall maintain an online record of such sites. The responsibility for an official college site’s adherence to “Best Practices” as described herein rests with the site’s administrator.
There is no form related to this policy.
Terms of service of various social media providers
Questions related to the daily operational interpretation of this policy should be directed to:
Institutional Communication Group
Approved by the President on Sept. 24, 2013