Guidelines for Internal Contributors to Web & Social Media Content

The official UTCS guidelines for internal posters (staff, faculty, and students) of Web and social media content will be communicated and expected. Failure to do so could put future participation at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge.

Internal Rules of Engagement

Emerging platforms for online collaboration are fundamentally changing the way we work, offering new ways to engage with external constituents, students, colleagues, and the world at large. It’s a way for you to take part in global conversations related to the work we are doing at UTCS and the things we care about. If you participate in social media, please follow these guiding principles:

Be transparent. Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. If you are writing about your work at UTCS, use your real name, identify that you work for UTCS, and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out. Keep confidentiality around proprietary information and content.

Be judicious. Ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to UTCS. All statements must be true and not misleading and all claims must be substantiated and approved. Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and UTCS confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.

Write what you know. Write in the first person. and post about your areas of expertise, especially as related to UTCS and our work. If you are writing about a topic that UTCS is involved with but you are not the UTCS expert on the topic, make this clear to your readers. If you publish to a Web site outside UTCS, please use a disclaimer like this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent UTCS’s positions, strategies, or opinions.” Respect brand, trademark, copyright, fair use, and confidentiality laws.

Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. By identifying yourself as a UTCS employee or student, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about UTCS. All content associated with you should be consistent with your work and with UTCS’s values and professional standards.

It’s a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in professional situations. Avoid overly pedantic or “composed” language. Consider content that’s open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are blogging about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared.

Are you adding value? Write things that people will value. Social communication from UTCS should help our students, alumni, corporate partners, colleagues and donors. It should be thought-provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps people improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their jobs, solve problems, or understand UTCS better, it’s adding value.

Your Responsibility: What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social media on behalf of UTCS is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect. Please know and follow UT’s Code of Conduct and compliance and ethics guidelines. Please also know and follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites.

Be a Leader. There is a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Do not denigrate our competitors or UTCS. Nor do you need to respond to every criticism or barb. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Some topics—like politics or religion—slide more easily into sensitive territory, so be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can’t really get them back, and  it’s hard to stop an inflammatory discussion once it gets going.
Did you mess up? If you make a mistake, admit it. Be up front and be quick with your correction.

If it gives you pause, pause. If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, you might want to discuss it with the UTCS Office of External Affairs. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility.