Department of Public Relations and Marketing

Social Media Policy and Guidelines

 

Overview

Seton Hall University’s social media policy provide faculty, administrators, staff and student employees rules and general guidelines for social media accounts associated with schools, colleges, departments, programs and offices. Specifically, the policies apply to those who engage in online conversations for work-related purposes or who are asked by supervisors to use or participate in social media as part of their job responsibilities.

Outlets within social media include, but are not limited to online social networks such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter, podcasts, discussion forums, RSS feeds, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, interactive geolocation, and online collaborative information and publishing systems that are accessible to internal and external audiences (i.e., Wikis).

Seton Hall University’s main social media accounts are administered primarily by the Department of Public Relations and Marketing and Web Content Systems, and include:

General Guidelines

  • The purpose of using these communication channels on behalf of Seton Hall University is to support the university’s mission, goals, programs, and sanctioned efforts, including university news, information, content and directives.
  • When using an officially recognized social media channel, assume at all times that you are representing Seton Hall University.
  • Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, associates and the university’s supporters/community (social media fans).
  • Avoid discussing or speculating on internal policies or operations.
  • A healthy dialogue with constructive criticism can be useful but refrain from engaging in dialogue that could disparage colleagues, competitors, or critics.
  • Be mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with Seton Hall University’s policies and editorial guidelines.

Account Creation

  • Accounts made for a Seton Hall University unit must be created by an authorized representative of the University.
  • In order to comply with most platforms’ terms and conditions, and to enable the University to assess authorized accounts and platforms, any unit wishing to create an account with a social media platform should provide the Department of Public Relations and Marketing with information about such accounts, along with the contact information for the individual(s) who will be authorized by the department to create, operate, monitor and edit accounts on an ongoing basis (i.e. the “Page Administrator”). Students may not be named as administrators.
  • A unit’s authorized administrator(s) must maintain the security of account passwords and identification. These individuals are fully responsible for all use of accounts and any actions that take place using the account.

Note:  Once created, to be listed on the Seton Hall University Social Media webpage, please contact Web Content Systems by submitting a request via SHU Connect.

Naming Guidelines

Some social media platforms allow the creation of specific -- or “vanity” -- account names. Naming a social media account is very important. Whenever possible, Seton Hall University, SHU, or Seton Hall should be listed prior to the college, department or program. This helps to build an awareness of all units, it helps users to find relevant Seton Hall units in search results, and it provides a consistency that is shown to help build trust for users.

Facebook
Seton Hall University [insert name]. Example: Seton Hall University Office of Media Relations

Twitter

SHU [Insert Name] or Seton Hall [Insert Name]. Example: SHU Health Sciences

YouTube
SHU_[Insert Name] or Seton Hall _ [Insert Name]. Example: Seton Hall_ Health Sciences

NOTE: The names on accounts that have already been created should not be changed, as changing names might change a URL, which can cause confusion for users.

Content Guidelines

General Guidelines

  • Content should be posted with the understanding that it may be redistributed through the Internet and other media channels and may be viewed by the general public. If deleted or modified, older versions may continue to exist online. Content should not be posted unless it furthers the University’s education, teaching or research mission. Share only information that is appropriate for the public.
  • In order to avoid discrepancies and minimize the need for updating, social media platforms should not be used to post detailed policy or procedural information, e.g., program admission criteria. Rather, users should be directed to official University websites, electronic resources or publications for such information.
  • Content directed at individual fans or page users should be written in a respectful manner. Content should never be written in a manner that can be interpreted as combative, demeaning or otherwise negative.
  • Generally speaking, content should not be posted if it depicts a dangerous activity unless discussed with and approved by appropriate senior University administrators. A legal disclaimer may be required for such posts.
  • Do not post content that shows (or may be perceived to show) someone getting hurt, attacked or humiliated; that might be considered racist, bigoted or demeaning to a particular group of individuals; that depicts activity that is (or may be perceived to be) illegal, such as drug use; or that could otherwise show the account holder or the University in a negative light.
  • If controversial content is related to academic study, ensure that appropriate context and disclaimers are provided. Also package the content in a manner that does not make it easy to reuse without the appropriate context.
  • Content should not be posted unless it is clearly suitable for all ages.

Personal vs. Public Persona
In general, administrators should post on affiliated social media platforms only in the name of that unit. For example, John Doe, who administers the Seton Hall University page on Facebook should not appear as a commenter on the Seton Hall University page on Facebook. This maintains the privacy of individuals who are administrators of University social media, and also preserves the consistency of the unit's voice online.

The exception to this policy is when a unit director or a faculty member must establish a specific Facebook presence to speak on behalf of the unit or the University. Such examples might include University President Gabriel Esteban, the vice president of Student Affairs or the coaches of Seton Hall University sports teams. In these cases, it is necessary to create a "Public Figure" account that is administered by the public figure and the administrators involved in the unit's other social media pages. This public account should speak only in the voice of the public figure's role.

Confidential and Proprietary Information

  • Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Seton Hall University or its students, employees or alumni. Employees must follow the applicable federal requirements outlined in FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), as well as NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) regulations.
  • Generally, the University must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student's records.
  • Do not include personally identifiable information that can be used to locate any individual without that person's written permission. This includes an individual’s screen name, personal photo, hobbies, identification numbers -- such as Social Security numbers or student ID's -- addresses and phone numbers (other than an authorized business address or business phone number).
  • Do not upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make publicly available on a social media site any private information of any affiliated or unaffiliated third party, including addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers.
  • University units should not use social media platforms to collect personal information of users, as most sites’ terms and conditions, as well as state and federal law, impose significant requirements and restrictions on the collection of personal information of users. In the case of minors, significant additional penalties can apply to violations. 
  • Do not post content that could create a security risk for the account holder or the University. Examples include but are not limited to images of restricted access research areas and information technology facilities.
  • Employees who share confidential information without appropriate authorization do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.

Use of Copyrighted or Proprietary Materials

  • Rights and permissions must be secured before posting, sharing or distributing copyrighted materials, including but not limited to: music, art, copyrighted photographs or texts, portions of copyrighted video, or information considered proprietary by a University partner, vendor, affiliate or contractor.
  • Secure written permission prior to using/incorporating any copyrighted or proprietary materials except when such material is covered under Fair Use provisions. 
    • Fair Use allows for the use of copyrighted material if it meets some or all of the following requirements: It’s a work that is mostly factual; it is being used to serve a significantly different purpose than its original purpose; and it has been changed significantly from its original appearance.

Use of University Marks
Seton Hall University logos and/or visual identity cannot be used for personal social media without university permission. See the University’s Graphic Standards Manual for guidelines on use of University logos, symbols and colors.

Commercial use, e.g., sales of merchandise

Endorsing commercial products or services is not permitted. The provision of online services or the sale of University publications, products or paraphernalia via "e-commerce" is permitted only in accordance with University policies and procedures.

Moderating Posts and Comments

When managing a social media site, it’s helpful to have clear guidelines for moderating posts and comments. Please feel free to use the following to moderate comments on your site, and to post these guidelines to your website or social media account when appropriate.

Seton Hall University encourages our fans, followers, and friends to share their thoughts with one another by commenting on a story, feature, tweet, or post that speaks to you. We encourage lively, thoughtful and civil conversation with the following guidelines:

  • Posts that are off-topic, abusive, contain profanity, are threatening in tone or devolve into personal attacks will be deleted.
  • Posts that are determined to be spam or sales and advertising will be removed.
  • Comments must be relevant to a topic discussed and to the point.
  • Comments should be clean and constructive. 
  • Excessively long comments—as determined by the site’s editor—are subject to editing for length, clarity and space limitations. 
  • Anonymous comments will not be published. 
  • Seton Hall University reserves the right to review all posts and comments and to remove content that violate any of the conditions noted above .

Final Thoughts

Due to the evolving nature of social media, the policies and guidelines presented here are subject to revision. We also welcome feedback from the campus community.

For more information about university guidelines and policies, please contact the Department of Public Relations and Marketing at (973) 378-9834.

Download the Social Media Policy and Guidelines in PDF format »

Contact Us

Department of Public Relations and Marketing
(973) 378-9834
universityevents@shu.edu
Ring Building Rm. 123

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