Social Media Guidelines
These guidelines are intended to assist members of the Reed College faculty, staff, and student body who want to create, manage, or comment on social media sites as college representatives.
Reed’s public affairs office manages Reed’s institutional presence on social media,* including the Reed College Facebook and Twitter accounts and the Sallyportal blog. Additionally, many more Reed-affiliated social media sites are managed by various departments, offices, and individuals across campus. The public affairs office maintains the list of all social media sites affiliated with Reed College.
Faculty or staff members who manage a Reed-affiliated site or comment on social media as representatives of the college are responsible for meeting the usual expectations for professional behavior and are responsible for complying with all applicable policies and laws:
Faculty, staff, and student workers who manage a Reed-affiliated site or comment on social media as representatives of the college are also responsible for knowing and complying with any terms of service or policies set by the social media platforms they use (e.g. Facebook Terms and Policies and The Twitter Rules) when interacting via the account.
If you use your professional affiliation with Reed on a site, it is important that you include a disclaimer such as: “The views expressed on this space are my own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Reed College.” Always disclose your affiliation to the college in situations where your comments are or may be perceived as biased due to your employment at Reed.
If you identify a concern related to Reed College on a social media account, please contact Robin Tovey in public affairs.
Creating and Managing a Reed-affiliated Site
- Consider your goals for social media when determining what platforms would be most appropriate. Do you have the resources to maintain the site? Who is your audience? Will you have enough content on an ongoing basis to make the site interesting?
- Get approval from your department chair or manager before registering a new Reed-affiliated social media account.
- Consult with Robin Tovey in public affairs. This helps public affairs be aware of official Reed handles, reduces the chances of redundant accounts, and helps promote your efforts once the account is set up. Because account managers can change frequently, or go away entirely, the office of public affairs may ask to have access privileges to avoid dormant accounts.
- Carefully consider your target audience when creating a Reed-affiliated social media account and which format will best suit your purposes (private group, public page, etc.). This may be an internal audience—such as a class, department, or club—or an external audience—such as prospective students and their families, alumni, or members of the local community.
- When creating an account, choose a password and username that can be shared with other members of your department or office. Some sites, such as Youtube, will not release a channel once it has been claimed, even if you tell them that the person who was managing the channel has left Reed and you no longer have the password.
- When creating an account, choose an appropriate name. For example, a twitter handle for Life Beyond Reed might be @LifeBeyondReed. Use the full name of Reed College somewhere in your profile.
- Identify those who will be responsible for managing and updating the site. Set clear expectations for their role. Account administrators should be able to check the site at least once daily and, in general, update it with new content several times a week.
- Announce your launch, focusing on the audience you are seeking. For example, send an email with a link to the site to appropriate listservs and newsletters and post on other social accounts.
- Remember that anything you post in your role as a member of Reed’s faculty or staff (including as a student worker) reflects on Reed College.
- Use digital metrics provided by the social media site to monitor and improve on your success.
- When social media account administrators(s) leave Reed, their ability to manage the site should be eliminated. The supervisor of the employee(s) responsible for posting to a Reed-affiliated social media site should monitor the page regularly, as they bear overall responsibility for the content and use of that page.
- If you need help figuring out a social media problem you are experiencing with your Reed-affiliated site, consult with Robin Tovey in public affairs.
Social Media Best Practices
- Engage and monitor. Be active, timely, and responsive. Schedule time to check your site(s) on a regular basis. Do more than just share news. Offer insights, comment on interesting posts, and encourage related dialogues.
- Be professional and respectful.
- Be transparent. You should be open and transparent about who you work for, who you represent or on whose behalf you may be speaking. Never misrepresent who you are or post as another individual.
- Always remember social media outlets are public spaces. Despite privacy settings, start with the assumption that anything you say can be read by anyone, anywhere, at any time and remember that the internet has a long memory.
- Be accurate. Posts should be accurate and fact-checked and capable of substantiation. If you do make a mistake, ensure you correct it promptly and acknowledge the revision with an apology and good humor.
- Respect intellectual property including trade marked names and slogans and copyrighted material. Make sure you have permission to post copyright items, properly attribute the work to the copyright owner where required, and never use someone else’s work as if it were your own.
- Respect privacy. Unless a photo was taken at a public event for which there would be no reasonable expectation of privacy, every person in the photo must have communicated their consent (verbally, by email, or by signing a consent form) to the public use of the photo. Do not include personally identifiable information that can be used to locate any individual without that person’s written permission.
- Respond quickly to comments needing a response, but remember not every social media comment warrants a response. Don’t respond at all in situations where you’ll only be adding fuel to the fire. You don’t have to respond to vague or spammy comments or non-sequiturs, but questions and honest reviews do deserve your input. Take concerns offline when appropriate.
- Avoidance is the best policy when dealing with internet trolls—online commenters who post inflammatory and harmful content. Report the troll to a moderator or the site owner if they persist.
- Be smart, savvy, and authentic. You work for Reed College.
*Social media channels include blogs, wikis, social networks, social bookmarking services, user rating services, and any other online collaboration, sharing, or publishing platform, whether accessed through the web, a mobile device, text messaging, email, or any other existing or emerging communications platform.