Guilford College supports the use of social media by its community members as an essential element of strategic communication strategy. Those who do so in their official capacity as a Guilford employee must comply with the policy and brand guidelines outlined here.
Purpose/Reason for Policy:
To provide guidance and best practices for the use of social media by members of the Guilford College community whether posting on behalf of Guilford College or on a personal site.
All members of the Guilford College Community
Social media: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking. For purposes of this policy, social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the internet including blogs, wikis, microblogs, message boards, chat rooms, electronic newsletters, online forums, social networking sites, as well as any other form of electronic communication.
Guilford College holds firm in its belief in free speech, diversity of thought and mutual respect. Nothing in these guidelines seeks to infringe upon or limit the expression of these values. Guilford encourages all departments to actively engage with the community, students and their global networks in person as well as electronically.
With the power of social media comes responsibility. Because everything posted reflects on the College – but does not necessarily represent the official views of the school – everyone has a shared responsibility to use social media appropriately. Members of the College community are expected to adhere to the same levels of civility in their online conversations as in their face-to-face conversations. The same laws, College policies, guidelines, and personal and professional expectations for interacting with all College constituents apply online as in the real world.
Using Social Media on Behalf of Guilford College:
- Employees planning to use social media in their official capacity representing the College should coordinate their plans with the Marketing Department staff. Contact the Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment at 336.316.2072.
- Institutional pages and profiles must identify a person responsible for content (i.e. department head).
- Pages and profiles must use email@example.com as the user email as a backup should administrators leave Guilford College.
- Have a clear plan for keeping the site fresh and up-to-date. Consumers of social media are accustomed to significant interaction. Sites that are dormant will be re-evaluated and removed if they can’t be maintained.
- Remove dead profiles or pages that you do not plan to update any further and notify Marketing.
- Engage with users in a calm, constructive manner. Tone should be professional and in good taste. Since your posts to social media sites are apt to circulate well beyond your own audiences through internet search engines, it is critical that you are professional in your communications. Be polite and avoid overreacting to critical comments.
- Should you become aware of unfavorable opinions, negative comments or criticisms about the College on blogs or other social media sites, please forward the information to the Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment. Employees are not held responsible for content posted by commenters on their Guilford College sites; however, employees should monitor their sites and remove inappropriate content as soon as possible.
- Comply with all state and federal laws as well as Guilford College policies. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the College, its students, its alumni, or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow the College’s policies and Federal requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If a discussion occurs involving individuals in sensitive situations on a media site, be sure those people cannot be identified.
- Review the Federal Social Media Guidelines related to accessibility of social media. Evaluate social media programs to ensure they are easily accessed by persons with disabilities.
- Be responsible. What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social computing on behalf of Guilford is not a right but an opportunity; please treat it seriously and with respect. Keep in mind that if you are posting with a College username, other users do not know you personally. They view what you post as coming from the College. What you say directly reflects on the College.
- Follow the Guilford College Brand Guidelines.
- Review content for grammar/spelling before posting.
- Be consistent with Guilford’s naming conventions or titles.
- Post only information you know to be accurate, especially as it relates to College Facts and Figures.
- Link to Guilford pages when possible rather than external sources.
- Monitor comments and respond in a timely manner. It is your responsibility to delete spam comments or block offensive comments.
Using Personal Social Media Accounts:
- Employees and students are encouraged to use their personal social media accounts to share College news and events that are a matter of public record with their family and friends.
- In order to eliminate confusion between an opinion expressed as a Guilford representative and an employee’s personal opinion, Guilford employees are required to refrain from using any of the Guilford College logos on personal online sites in a way that would make it appear that the employee is speaking for the College. No employee or student may speak officially on behalf of the College without permission from the President.
- Employees are not permitted to post confidential or proprietary information on their personal social media that was provided or accessed by virtue of their employment status.
- Employees are expected to comply with all state and Federal laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), copyright infringement, etc. Violating these laws on personal social media accounts will be treated in the same way as if the violation occurred in person and/or on campus.
- Employees are expected to comply with all College policies. Violations of College policies on personal social media accounts will be addressed as if the violation occurred in person and/or on campus.
- Laws and College policies governing inappropriate conduct such as sexual (or other) harassment, bullying, discrimination, defamation, infringement of copyright and trademark rights, and unauthorized disclosure of student records and other confidential and private information apply to communications through social media as well as other forms of communication.
- Employees are not held responsible for content posted on their sites by commenters; however, employees should monitor their sites and remove inappropriate content as soon as possible.
Nothing in these guidelines restricts or prohibits employee rights to engage in concerted, protected activity with fellow employees over the terms and conditions of employment as authorized by law.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Marketing Department oversees the College’s official social media accounts and serves as a resource for social media users on campus.
Permission to officially represent Guilford College on social media may be withdrawn from those who violate these policy guidelines while posting in their official capacity as a Guilford employee.
Personal communications made via social media are not exempt from the laws and regulations that govern personal liability across general and traditional forms of communication. Violation of College policy or Federal law that occur through social media channels will be addressed according to the same procedures as if the violation occurred in person and/or on campus.
Disciplinary action may be initiated if an employee’s non-official or unauthorized online activity interferes with the conduct of College business or otherwise subjects the college to liability for such acts. In appropriate cases, such conduct may also be reported to law enforcement authorities
Other Related Policies, Regulations, Statutes and Documents:
Guilford College Brand Guidelines
Confidentiality of Information
Computing Resources, Network and Email Use
Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit
Social Media Tips and Guidelines
The Guilford College President
Roger Degerman, Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment, New Garden Hall 107 , 336.316.2072 , firstname.lastname@example.org
11-29-2018 - Policy adapted from the Social Media Guidelines included in the Guilford College Brand Guidelines
03-20-2019 - Policy approved by President’s Cabinet