Iron County UWEX Social Media Policy

These guidelines are part of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension information technology services provided for students, faculty and staff of the organizations. These guidelines are made available on our employee website. I have provided comments and suggestions based on reading Olivier Blanchard’s “Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization,” and on information from Cd Vann in the Social Media course.

Guidelines for Social Media

Purpose

UW-Extension and UW Colleges have developed these social media guidelines to ensure that all communications that appear to speak for UW-Extension and UW Colleges on social media, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and similar sites, represent the best interests of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension.

These guidelines are based on the assumption that UW-Extension and UW Colleges faculty, staff and employees will exercise good judgment and professionalism in their social media use. The policy is intended to provide guidance in specific areas that may be unique to social media.

Scope

These guidelines apply to social media accounts that represent UW-Extension or UW Colleges administration, departments, programs, entities, etc. , or accounts where the author ‘s position with UW-Extension or UW Colleges is a prominent part of the account and may give viewers or readers the impression that the author speaks in his or her official capacity.

Administrators of sites and social media users who represent UW-Extension or UW Colleges in social media must adhere to all UWCX social media guidelines, UW System policies and other applicable procedures.

These guidelines are not intended to apply to private individual accounts in which the author’s association with UW-Extension or UW Colleges is incidental, or in which the author makes it clear that he or she does not represent UW-Extension or UW Colleges.

  • Acknowledges personal privacy and personal responsibility.
  • The scope indicates that the guidelines do not apply to personal, private accounts.
  • This section of the social media guidelines relates to Olivier Blanchard’s recommendation of an employee bill of rights. The scope identifies what and who the policy is intended for and does not restrict use of social media outside of work hours or work networks.

 Account administrators

To ensure that sites remain accessible and do not get lost or taken over by non-official administrators, social media accounts should have shared usernames and passwords. Accounts that are associated with one individual, such as Twitter, should be registered to an email account owned by the institution and associated with a password that is shared by multiple individuals. Accounts such as Facebook that accept multiple administrators should have at least two assigned administrators at all times.

Should an administrator leave or change job responsibilities, the supervisor should designate another employee to be an administrator. If adequate resources are not available, an employee of University Relations for UW Colleges/UW-Extension (UWCX) may serve in that capacity. If there are any problems identifying a new administrator, contact UWCX University Relations.

UW-Extension and UW Colleges employees identified as administrators of official accounts are responsible for managing and monitoring content of their accounts, including comments. Administrators are responsible for removing content that violates these guidelines or other University policies.

  • In this section it would be appropriate to clarify that all official accounts on social networks are the property of the organization. An employee should understand that if they engage in conversation or discussion, post content, or use the official account the are on work hours and the same rules of conduct that apply to business hour apply as well.
  • Additionally this section could include impermissible activity by the account administrators or a list of internal and external social media usage guidelines. The UW-Cooperative Extension has such a list in the “Appropriate use policy of network and email”. These guidelines could be included in the social media guidelines as well but would have to be updated as social media changes and is fluid. Some include: Acceptable Use: Network Computer Systems Impermissible activity includes but is not limited to, the following:
  • Harassment
  • Libel or slander
  • Fraud or misrepresentation
  • Destruction of or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the University
  • Unauthorized access to the University network
  • Deliberate misrepresentation of user identity
  • Unauthorized copying of software and/or violating copyright protection laws and guidelines
  • Violation of computer system security
  • Use of unapproved mailing lists
  • Use of computing facilities for private business purposes unrelated to the job duties of the University
  • Downloading and / or running of destructive or disruptive programs
  • Displaying or transmitting via the network material that is threatening, obscene or pornographic
  • Intentional or negligent distribution of computer viruses
  • Dissemination of personal information (i.e. Social Security Numbers)
  • Any activity that derogates the UWCX network

Graphic standards

All users must adhere to approved branding standards. Logos and standards are available here: http://www.uwex.uwc.edu/logo/about.cfm, here: http://www.uwex.edu/logo/, and here: http://www.uwc.edu/resources/graphic_standards/.

You must use logos exactly as given. Do not add anything to them, change the wording, combine them with other words or graphic images or change their appearance in any other way.

Many other logos are associated with UW-Extension and UW Colleges, such as 4-H, Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network, UW System and the logos of individual campuses and their sports teams. Please see their respective graphic standards for proper usage.

Content

• You may not post any content that is threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or is otherwise illegal or injurious to the reputation or interests of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Extension, or UW Colleges.

• Respect privacy laws. Do not include confidential information about the University, its staff, or its students. See http://www.uwc.edu/students/ferpa/ for guidelines about disclosing any information about a student.

• Representing your personal opinions as being endorsed by the University or any of its organizations is strictly prohibited.

• You may not use the University of Wisconsin name or assets to promote any opinion, product, cause, or political candidate. When in doubt, include the statement: “this is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of the University”.

• By posting content to any social media site, you agree that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to that content, that your use of the content is protected fair use, that you will not knowingly provide misleading or false information, and that you indemnify and hold the University harmless for any claims resulting from the content.

• While the UW-Extension and UW Colleges administration does not regularly review content posted to social media sites, the administration shall have the right to remove any content from any official site for any violation, including but not limited to, content that deemed threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.

 Subsequent use of content

By submitting content to any social media site, you acknowledge that the information is available to the public. The University may use this information for internal and external promotional purposes.

  •  The above section of the Cooperative Extension Social Media Guidelines covers several important components of a policy. Here it is made clear as to what content is appropriate and inappropriate. It also explains that a person posting content owns that content. A suggestion would be to add a disclaimer statement which an employee could copy and paste at the bottom of post made on behalf of the organization or a disclaimer statement informing the audience that a person’s opinion or views are their own.  

All social media accounts that represent UW-Extension or UW Colleges administration, departments, programs, entities, etc. must clearly identify themselves as official sites and include the notation: © 2012 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

Approved by UWS Legal 02/13/12

X/Social Media/Guidelines for social media v6

 In addition to the guidelines provided here I would include a section on responsible usage, security and prohibited use of social media. These sections are included in the email and network policy for Cooperative Extension and UW-Extension. I would adapt them in so they relate to social media usage.

Social Media Accounts Usage Policy

  • Users are responsible for conducting themselves in an ethical and lawful manner when using the University of Wisconsin Extension and Colleges network and systems. When creating posts, messages etc. it is recommended users follow the basic standards required of written business communications. The following applies to the Social Media environment for Extension and Colleges employees, which is managed and maintained by the Central Information Technology Services department.

Prohibited Use of E-mail

Unless required by position or function, users shall not use official accounts to create, view, save, receive, or send material related to the following:

  • Creating or exchanging obscene messages or content, including pornographic material
  • Posting or sending content or messages that promotes discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, or disability
  • Posting content or sending messages that contains a threatening or excessively violent message
  • Exchanging proprietary information, trade secrets, or other confidential information to anyone not affiliated with the University
  • Creating, forwarding, or exchanging SPAM, chain letters, solicitations, or advertising through global distribution lists
  • Creating, storing, or exchanging content or messages that violates material protected under copyright laws
  • Altering a message or content from another user without their permission
  •  Improperly using someone else’s account without their permission

 The above list of prohibited actions is by way of an example only and is not intended to be exhaustive.

  •  This policy is part of the email policy but would also be appropriate to include in a social media policy or guideline document. This section clearly informs users that their UWEX accounts and messages transmitted during work hours are monitored by system administrators.

Privacy

Confidentiality of e-mail may be compromised by the applicability of law or policy, including this policy, by unintended redistribution, or because of the inadequacy of current technologies to protect against unauthorized access. Users, therefore, should exercise extreme caution in using e-mail to communicate confidential or sensitive matters.

Users should be aware that system administrators need to, from time to time, observe certain e-mail transactional addressing information to ensure that the e-mail system is functioning properly. On these and other occasions, the contents of an e-mail message may be inadvertently displayed. Except as provided elsewhere in this policy, system administrators are not permitted to view the contents intentionally or disclose or otherwise use what they have seen.

The content of an e-mail message transmitted from or stored on UWCX computers, whether personal or business related is not necessarily protected from public disclosure and may be considered a public record under Wisconsin and Federal law. E-mail delivered to or sent from the UWCX e-mail system is considered to be an open record, much like a written or printed document, and can be requested. However, users should not assume that their information is automatically subject to public inspection under the Wisconsin Open Records Law

  •  Cooperative Extension and UW-Extension have provided trainings related to technology polices and guidelines on the employee websites.  
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2 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading your social media policy. It gave me many ideas that I can use in my organization. I think you should talk with your administration about the suggestions that you have for the policy. They would only enhance the current policy and bring your organization to another level.

    Great Job! I especially like the paragraph about the administrator. It was an element that me or my organization had not thought of yet.

    Like

  2. Here are a few thoughts I had about this policy:

    “….based on the assumption that….faculty, staff and employees will exercise good judgment and professionalism in their social media use.” I like this way of putting it. We are all associated with professional organizations. Some of the guidelines I’ve read seem rather patronizing in detail and because of the unnecessary detail they are also overly long. If the policy is so long that it won’t ever be read what’s the point?

    “To ensure that sites remain accessible and do not get lost or taken over by non-official administrators, social media accounts should have shared usernames and passwords. ….should be registered to an email account owned by the institution and associated with a password that is shared by multiple individuals. Accounts ….that accept multiple administrators should have at least two assigned administrators at all times.”Good idea, never really thought about this before. Having more than one administrator may also relieve some of the burden of monitoring and posting on a regular basis so that one person could be social media free at times. It can take up a lot of time. (I’m beginning to dream in Facebook comments!)

    “When creating posts, messages etc. it is recommended users follow the basic standards required of written business communications.” Do you think this means no social media slang or shortcuts such as “lol” for laugh out loud or “u” for you or the little black heart shape for love? (How do they do that any way?) I’m not so sure this is really necessary. A “written business communications” style seems awfully formal for some conversations. I think this would fall under the category of exercising good judgment.

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