Social Media Guidelines

CU-Boulder encourages the use of social media technologies to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange in support of CU-Boulder’s mission.

As the technology evolves, these guidelines will evolve, but in general terms, these guidelines define regulatory principles for use of these technologies by CU-Boulder employees. The use of social media technology follows the same standards of professional practice and conduct associated with everything else we do. Common sense and sound judgment help avoid the most vexing issues.

Definition: "Social media" and “Web 2.0” are umbrella terms that encompass the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and content creation. Social media use many technologies and forms, such as blogs, wikis, photo and videosharing, podcasts, social networking, mashups, and virtual worlds.

SECTION 1: POLICIES FOR ALL SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

Protect confidential and proprietary information. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about CU-Boulder, students, staff, faculty, or alumni. Employees must still follow the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA and HIPA, as well as NCAA regulations. Adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.

Respect copyright and fair use. When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the university. For guidance, consult CU-Boulder’s Copyright resources and facts: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/copyright/

Direct questions about fair use or copyrighted material to the copyright and intellectual property to the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Campus Technology: (303) 492-5094.

Don’t use logos for endorsements. Do not use the CU-Boulder logo or any other university images or iconography on personal social media sites. Do not use CU-Boulder’s name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.

Respect university time and property. University computers and time on the job are reserved for university-related business as approved by supervisors and in accordance with the Use of Computing and Network Resources document.

Terms of Services. Obey the Terms of Service of any Social Media platform employed.

SECTION 2: CU-BOULDER SOCIAL MEDIA

If you post on behalf of an official university unit, the following policies must be adhered to in addition to all policies and best practices listed above:

Be transparent. If you participate in or maintain a social media site on behalf of the university, clearly state your role and goals. Discuss with your supervisor when you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval.

Be connected. If you have been authorized by your supervisor to create an official CU-Boulder social media site or a video for posting in locations such as YouTube, please contact University Communications for an approved logo and other images and to ensure coordination with other CU-Boulder sites and content.

Be respectful. As a CU-Boulder employee, you understand the university's commitment to respect the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. Your reputation, and CU-Boulder’s are best served when you remain above the fray.  

Use common sense and common courtesy; Make sure your efforts to be transparent don’t violate CU-Boulder privacy, confidentiality and legal guidelines (See Privacy Statement policy).

When disagreeing with other opinions or someone disagrees with your post, keep it appropriate and polite. Feel free to contact University Communications for advice and /or to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on CU-Boulder.

Be thoughtful. If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as a CU-Boulder employee, ask your supervisor before you post. Remember that policies such as FERPA Compliance and Privacy Statement policy 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 university's mission and values. Don't include political comments or comments on social issues except in support of positions CU-Boulder has already taken. This includes changes to your photo or avatar in relation to political or social issues.

University Policies and Resources

Unless otherwise stated, CU-Boulder policies and procedures apply to the use of Social Media sites for official CU Boulder usage. These include but are not limited to:

SECTION 3: BEST PRACTICES

This section applies to those posting on behalf of an official university unit, though the guidelines may be helpful for anyone posting on social media in any capacity. 

Think twice before posting. Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the university. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it at a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your supervisor for input or contact University Communications.

Strive for accuracy. Get the facts straight before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of the university in any capacity.

Never represent yourself or CU-Boulder in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading; all claims must be substantiated.

Remember your audience. Be aware that a presence in the social media world is or easily can be made available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employers and colleagues, and peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm, or provoke any of these groups.

On personal sites, identify your views as your own. If you identify yourself as a CU-Boulder faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution.

Be a valued member. If you join a social network like a Facebook group or comment on someone's blog, make sure you are contributing valuable insights. Don't post information about topics or a book you've authored unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is viewed negatively and can lead to you being banned from websites or groups.

Photography. Photographs posted on social media sites easily can be appropriated by visitors. Consider adding a watermark and/or posting images at 72 dpi and approximately 800x600 resolution to protect your intellectual property. Images at that size are sufficient for viewing on the Web, but not suitable for printing.

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