Social media websites are powerful communications tools that can affect organizational and professional reputations. Because social media sites have the capacity to blur the lines between personal voices and institutional voices, UNC Charlotte requires departments and units that desire a University Social Media Account to adhere to the following requirements to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations.
“University Social Media Accounts” are defined as social media accounts (including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts or blogs) that are created or maintained by or on behalf of the University or an office, department or division of the University, such as a College, academic department or academic program.
- Requests for University social media accounts must be submitted in writing (such as via email) to the University’s Web Communications Manager. Please cc: the College Communications Director and Academic Technologies Executive Director.
- University social media accounts must have responsible departmental or unit administrators assigned, and must include the Web Communications Manager as an administrator on the account. Shared access to appropriate user names and passwords is permitted if shared administration is not possible.
- University social media accounts that are created and abandoned may be removed by the Web Communications Manager in his or her discretion.
- Publicly posted content on a University social media account will not be edited or removed prior to consultation with the university web communications manager, who should consult with the Office of Legal Affairs, as needed.
- All University social media accounts must display the following statement prominently where possible:
- “Representatives of a North Carolina state agency communicate via this Website. Consequently no person communicating via this site (whether a state employee or the general public) should have an expectation that any communication on this site is private. All communication on this site may be subject to disclosure under the North Carolina Public Records Act.”
Social Media Best Practices
The University Marketing team has created the MediaMine database, which contains links to approximately 750 social media websites managed by colleges, departments, business units, and student groups and organizations on campus. It also has worked with others on campus to develop a reading list and recommends best practices that UNC Charlotte social media sites should follow, including these, which are covered in detail on the best practices page.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Maintain privacy.
- Do no harm.
- Do not pick fights online.
- Respect your audience.
- Correct mistakes.
- Remember that social media is public.
- Monitor comments.
- Seek approval of any comments that are distributed on behalf of an official entity of the University.
- Be accurate.
- Be aware of public perception.
- Be responsible.
- Be timely.
- Be aware of the brand – ours and those of the social media platforms you are using.
The College Office of Academic Technologies and the College Communications Office support the College’s web presence, often in collaboration with the University’s Marketing team and ITS. The goal is the creation, management, delivery and sharing of web content across colleges and departments at the University while also collaborating on standards for branding, accessibility, and communications. OAT provides technical support, consulting and development services for CLAS faculty and staff.
The Content Management System used for University websites is Drupal. The Web Redesign Project website includes content management tips, a site convention and style guide, a link to a training request form and other resources.
The College Office of Academic Technologies also has developed CLAS Pages, a platform designed to host a variety of sites, including those for faculty profiles, projects, research and blogs. Each College faculty member has a site, provided through CLAS Pages and editable by the faculty member. Faculty members can request a site.
The College sites include:
- CLAS Connections: an aggregation of College faculty profiles organized and searchable by academic department and research interests.
- Exchange Online, the College’s online magazine. We welcome submissions of your news to this site.
- Thinking Matters, an aggregation of College faculty social media sites.
- Inside CLAS, an administrative site that includes the College Handbook and the Communications Toolkit.
Policies, Laws and Guidelines
When posting content to official university websites — including social media — the same laws and rules that govern our work elsewhere can come into play, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, FERPA, laws related to public records and other statutes. Social media sites and websites managed by “sub-units” of the university — such as departments or colleges — are considered official sites. Be sure that you are aware of the relevant laws and state and university policies. When in doubt, remember to consult with the Communications Office and the College’s Office of Academic Technologies. These offices can also connect you with the Office of Legal Affairs and University Marketing as needed.
- University Policy 302 – Web Communications – This policy sets standards for responsible use of the University website, web page format, social media websites, accessibility, links to non-University websites, use of the University name and registered marks on the University website, hosting of websites for external entities, University data, and individual web pages on the University website.
- Web Styleguide
- University Office of Disability Services Faculty and Staff Handbook