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Social Media Best Practices

When Posting on FSC Social Media Sites

Be transparent. If you participate in or maintain a social media site on behalf of the college, clearly state your role and goals. 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. Be careful and be respectful. What you say directly reflects on the college. Discuss with your supervisor the circumstances in which you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval. If you have any questions, contact the Office for Institutional Advancement.

Be Accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible -- that’s how you build community.

Be Timely. Assign an administrator who can regularly monitor postings and content. Aim for standard times for postings and updates. The recommended minimum frequency is once to twice a week. But be sure not to overload your updates. Followers will stop paying attention if you overload them with information.

Be respectful. Users are free to discuss topics and disagree with one another, but please be respectful of others’ opinions. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.

Be thoughtful. If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as a Farmingdale employee, ask your supervisor before you post. Remember that policies such as FERPA apply to social media.

Know the rules. Become familiar with the terms of service and policies of sites and networks in which you participate. Pay attention to updates. If the legal language is hard to follow, follow a respected blogger or two who discuss service changes in their posts.

Keep your personal views separate. Uphold the college's mission and values in your activities. Don't include political comments or comments on social issues except in support of positions Farmingdale has already taken. This includes changes to your photo or avatar in relation to political or social issues.

Respect trademarks and copyright. This is usually part of the terms of service for the social media site you are using as well as part of Farmingdale State College Copyright Guidelines. You can use the university's logo on an official university social media site.

Don't endorse without permission. Don't use a college account to endorse any product, vendor or site unless you have permission from your supervisor to do so.

Branding and Use of the Farmingdale State College Logo. If you create a social media site on behalf of the college, use simple graphics that represent the Farmingdale State College brand. The Office for Institutional Advancement can provide guidance with graphics and design. The Farmingdale State College Logo, Use & Policy Statement provides information on logo permissions and standards.

When Posting on Personal Social Media Sites

Be authentic. Be honest about your identity. In personal posts, you may identify yourself as a Farmingdale State College faculty or staff member. However, please be clear that you are sharing your views as a member of the higher education community, not as a formal representative of Farmingdale.

A common practice among individuals who write about the industry in which they work is to include a disclaimer on their site, usually on their "About Me" page. If you discuss higher education on your own social media site, we suggest you include a sentence similar to this: "The views expressed on this [blog, website] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Farmingdale State College."

This is particularly important if you are a department head or administrator.

Don't be a mole. Never pretend to be someone else and post about Farmingdale. Tracking tools enable supposedly anonymous posts to be traced back to their authors. There have been several high-profile and embarrassing cases of company executives anonymously posting about their own organizations. In addition, such behavior is prohibited by the Acceptable Use Policy.

Take the high ground. If you identify your affiliation with Farmingdale State College in your comments, readers will associate you with the college, even with the disclaimer that your views are your own. Remember that you're most likely to build a high-quality following if you discuss ideas and situations civilly.

Don't use the Farmingdale logo or make endorsements. Do not use the Farmingdale logo, athletic logo or any other Farmingdale marks or images on your personal online sites. Do not use Farmingdale’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.

Protect your identity. While you want to be honest about yourself, don't provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you. Don't list your home address or telephone number or your work telephone or e-mail address. It is a good idea to create a separate e-mail address that is used only with your social media site.

Follow a code of ethics. There are numerous codes of ethics for bloggers and other active participants in social media, all of which will help you participate responsibly in online communities. If you have your own social media site, you may wish to post your own code of ethics.