Social media approach and policy
Our University makes use of various social media channels. If you are responsible for
communicating using these channels, you should read our advice on using them effectively
and must ensure that you follow our social media policy.
Advice on using social media effectively
If you need further help, please contact the Digital Marketing Officer (email@example.com).
Social media policy
The growth in social media, particularly social networking sites, has
created increased opportunity for media communications that have an
impact upon the University.
The term 'social media' is used here to describe websites and
applications that enable users to create and share content and/or to participate in social networking
While the University has clear guidelines and policies regarding other
aspects of its operation, eg human resources, IT and corporate identity,
these do not explicitly cover the usage of social media.
The purpose of these social media guidelines is as follows:
- to encourage good practice
- to protect the University, its staff and students
- to clarify where and how existing policies and
guidelines apply to social media
- to promote effective and innovative use of social
media as part of the University's activities
In particular any official University social networking site/group must
be approved by the University's Digital Marketing Officer
All sites must have a designated administrator who is responsible for the content of the site.
- All current University of Essex policies concerning staff and
students also apply to the use of social media. These include HR
policies, codes of conduct, corporate branding policies, acceptable use
of IT and disciplinary procedures. The following policies and guidelines
are of particular importance:
- Departments contacting alumni must consult the Advancement Office first.
- Staff and students should take effective precautions when utilising
social networking sites to ensure their own personal safety and to protect against
- Staff and students need to consider intellectual property rights, copyright
and ownership of data when using social media.
- The University supports staff using social media where it adds value
to existing services; social media should not, however, be used where
existing supported services
offer equivalent functionality.
- Where staff use social media for personal purposes at work this
should be done in line with
current IT guidelines and any local management guidance.
- Individuals should exercise caution when interacting with, and
responding to, potentially contentious posts on social media sites.
- The University will continually review the use of social media and
may modify its policies should the status of particular social media
sites change, eg if charges are introduced, changes made to the way
- Academic uses – the University recognises that
social media has the potential to support/advance learning opportunities
and encourages its use in this way; social media should not, however, be
existing supported learning technologies
offer equivalent functionality.
- Collaborative uses – the University supports both
internal (eg inter-department) and external (eg inter-university)
collaboration and recognises that social media may provide opportunities
for people and organisations to work together.
- Communications and External Relations uses – the
University recognises the opportunity to communicate with prospective
and existing customers through social media as part of an integrated
- Prospective and current students' uses - these
users, along with others who have an interest in the University, are
active in social media, eg setting up Facebook groups and blogging.
Communications and External Relations will monitor these sites to get
further insight into the needs of its customers. Possible responses to
any contentious issues identified in unofficial social media sites
should be referred to the Digital Marketing Officer,
- Alumni uses – the University recognises the
opportunity to communicate with existing students and alumni through
social media to develop an on-going relationship with them. These uses
are the responsibility of the Advancement Office, who have ultimate
responsibility for alumni contact details.
- Students' Union uses – the University understands
that the Students' Union will want to use social media to maximise the
exposure of its services and the associated societies to existing and
prospective students. These uses are the responsibility of the Students'
Other potential uses
- The University will not refer to social networking sites when
assessing student applications and job applications unless such sites
are specifically highlighted in the application. The University will
assess all applications only on the information provided. Further
details can be obtained from the
- The University may refer to social networking sites when
investigating breaches of discipline, eg cheating, harassment,
anti-social behaviour. The Student Appeals, Complaints and
Conduct and Office can provide further information on student disciplinary procedures.
- The University may monitor forums and blogs to gain indirect
feedback on University services and facilities. The University may post
replies on forums or blogs to answer queries or address factual
corrections, but would generally take a cautious approach before getting
involved in contentious issues.
- The University reserves the right to take any necessary steps to
protect its facilities, staff and students from malware (malicious
software) including blocking sites where this is an issue.