College-wide Navigational Links | Go to Local Content
Main Content |

Intranet: Policies and Procedures: Section 3: College Identity

3.05 Social Media Policy

For the purposes of this document, "social media" is defined as any web-based tool used to communicate with, solicit feedback from and share resources with the public, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs and photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and Photobucket. CAES policies related to social media may change as technologies evolve. Traditional websites maintained by CAES are not considered social media tools and thus are not affected by this policy.

Please note that UGA's Social Media Guidelines supercede these policies.

General guidance

Only representatives of a department, unit, office or club that have been designated by their organization should set up social media accounts on behalf of CAES. Before establishing any social media account for the college, the representative must speak with a unit or departmental supervisor AND a member of the CAES Social Media Team at caessm@uga.edu.

Social media representatives should restrict themselves to the following tools when creating accounts:

Due to the need to consolidate our efforts according to where our audience is, Google+, Pinterest and MySpace will not be supported and should not be used outside of Office of Communications and Creaive Services to represent a CAES entity. There is no designated photo-sharing site, but some that can be used are Flickr or Photobucket.

Designated social media representatives are responsible for:

  • Understanding and adhering to college policy and university guidelines related to social media;
  • Understanding the goals of the college's social media initiatives;
  • Upholding the providers' Terms of Service and Community Standards;
  • Maintaining and updating their organization's social media channels on a regular basis;
  • Ensuring that all social media channels are appropriately and correctly branded according to college guidelines;
  • Communicating with OCCS about new social media accounts or changes to an existing account's administrator or type (for instance, changing a Facebook personal page to a group page); and
  • Participating in social media training offered by OCCS.

The Office of Communications and Creative Services is responsible for the oversight and management of the college's social media efforts. Contact the CAES Social Media Team at caessm@uga.edu for more information about policies and procedures.

Set up and management of social media channels

Each social media channel should have two administrators who are capable of logging into and updating the page or site. One of these administrators should be the designated social media contact for the unit.

Prior to setting up any social media channel for your organization, contact the CAES Social Media Team at caessm@uga.edu for approval. At this time, OCCS does not offer account creation support, but we will gladly answer questions and point you to helpful resources.

Social media channels should be set up according to the guidelines described in the links below and at the Social Media DIY guide. If an existing social media account is already being used in your organization, contact OCCS to ensure privacy controls are set correctly.

Facebook-specific guidelines

  • For clubs, groups or organizations involving children under age 18, a closed Facebook group should be used.
  • For public, non-minor-related organizations or events, a Facebook page should be used.
  • Do not use a Facebook profile account to represent a college entity. If you are unsure which type to create, contact the social media team.
  • It is against Facebook's policies for children under 13 to have an account. Do not encourage Facebook account creation for those under 13. Be sure to provide an alternative means of communication for this age group.
  • Facebook has strict policies on contests, sweepstakes or promotions. We do not recommend having contests on your page.
  • If Facebook pages exist that do not meet this criteria, contact the CAES Social Media Team at caessm@uga.edu for assistance.
  • Get more info at the Social Media DIY Guide.
top

Twitter-specific guidelines

  • For quick and frequent updates, use a twitter account.
  • If you have both a Twitter account and a Facebook account, try not to post the same exact content. Alter your post according to the audience.
  • If Twitter users exist that do not meet this criteria, contact the social media team at caessm@uga.edu for assistance.
  • Get more info at the Social Media DIY Guide.
top

YouTube-specific guidelines

  • To share informational and promotional videos, use a YouTube channel.
  • It is important that your videos are 508 complaint. This means that it should have subtitles and descriptive text.
  • If YouTube users exist that do not meet this criteria, contact the social media team at caessm@uga.edu for assistance.
  • Get more info at Social Media DIY Guide.
top

Professionalism

You can be held legally liable for posts that are inflammatory, slanderous, discriminatory, threatening or that violate copyright or intellectual property laws. You can expose the college and UGA to significant risk if your posts violate the law.

Additionally, the credibility of CAES depends on social media administrators who are able to accurately, articulately and professionally represent the organization. The following guidelines will help administrators maintain professionalism while using social media.

  • Social media administrators' personal Facebook accounts should have privacy controls set so that professional contacts cannot see personal posts or information.
  • When posting on personal social media accounts, do not identify yourself as a spokesperson for CAES or discuss sensitive information related to your job.
  • Do not post or allow others to post endorsements or promotions for commercial concerns or products, charitable causes or political groups. Links to non-CAES sites and pages are appropriate as long as they are related to the programs of your unit.
  • When posting as the administrator, refrain from voicing personal opinions about sensitive issues such as politics, religion or topics that inspire heated debate (e.g., immigration, healthcare reform, gay marriage, etc.). Keep in mind that the purpose of your social media channel is to promote your organization and the college. You should be a “real” person with an authentic voice, but you should refrain from using your college accounts as a forum for your personal beliefs.
  • Comments and posts made over social media channels by members of the community at large do not imply endorsement by CAES or UGA and may be deleted if they do not relate to the programs of the college.
  • Use common sense when posting on personal and professional social media accounts. Remember that:
    • There is no way to thoroughly delete your posts – what you put on the Internet stays on the internet forever.
    • Thanks to Google, your bosses, parents and children have access to all of your social media accounts. Write posts as if they are your audience.
    • If you have doubts about whether you should post something, you probably shouldn’t.
  • Know when and where to get help when problems arise.

Getting help

Because of the nature of social media, you will eventually encounter negative or inaccurate comments and/or inappropriate posts. If a problem arises, social media administrators should:

  • Refer to the archived social media trainings from OIT.
  • Notify a supervisor or a member of the CAES Social Media Team at caessm@uga.edu about the problem.
  • Work with the supervisor or OCCS representative to respond promptly and appropriately to problematic comments or posts.

Other policies and the law

Social media administrators must also:

  • Understand copyright and fair use laws; give people credit for their work and don't use images without permission.
  • Never pose as an expert on a topic; instead, provide links to expert sources.
  • Maintain confidentiality. Don't publish any personal information about students or minors; it's against the law. Be sensitive to projects others are working on. Be aware that posting details about unpublished research can jeopardize future patents.
  • Remember that all university policies related to anti-harassment, conduct, ethics, etc., apply to the online world. Specifically, CAES social media efforts must comply with the following University System of Georgia Board of Regents' policies:
top