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A few items about social media manners …

Before you create and launch an official social media site for your FSU department, program, division or organization, please read the following guidelines and review our social media marketing plan.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are specifically designed to help you become more proactive and informed in how you use social media to promote your department, program or division. With the blurred boundaries of social media and the way it overlaps between the personal and the professional, you may find that they can help you make good decisions about personal social media use, too. As the landscape of social media changes, these guidelines may need to be adjusted and updated. Thanks!

Respect

Frostburg State University encourages a variety of viewpoints, and sees social media as an opportunity for FSU departments, student organizations and other University groups to communicate in creative and democratic ways. We ask you to please be respectful of other people’s viewpoints. If you disagree with something someone has posted or shared through a social media community, do so in a logical, ethical and civil manner. Before posting something, ask yourself if what you’re sharing adds value and interest to the community or discussion.

Accuracy, honesty and transparency

If you’re using official FSU social media sites to communicate something as a representative of Frostburg State University, or in your role as a university staff or faculty member,make sure you clearly identify yourself and your affiliation with FSU. Being open about your ties to FSU illustrates transparency and credibility. When writing for personal social media sites or blogs, it’s a good idea to disclose your affiliation with the university if you discuss university-related topics. This will enhance your standing and credibility with readers.

Assume everything you communicate via social media is permanent

If you wouldn't want it published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, don’t broadcast it via social media. Remember that there is no such thing as a “private” social media website–what you write from your home computer is an extension of who you are, and can follow you to school or your job. If you publicly list your employment with FSU on your personal social media site (like a personal Facebook Profile), realize that you represent FSU through this affiliation. If you have questions about the personal use of social media that relate to your role at FSU or involve a possible lapse of professional judgment, talk to your supervisor and get his/her input and feedback on how the issue should be handled.

Be the first to respond to your own mistakes.

If you make a mistake, be up front about it and admit it. Correct yourself through clear communication. Try to maintain a high level of quality that exhibits good grammar, punctuation and spelling. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly—better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of legal action.

Follow all campus and University System of Maryland computing policies.

Your use of social media should comply with Frostburg State University’s computing policies as well as the University System of Maryland’s Information Technology policies. Check out Responsible Computing at Frostburg State University, too.

If you are creating and uploading videos on YouTube, be mindful that they should be ADA compliant. Learn more about how to make your videos ADA compliant by adding captions here.

Be mindful of all FSU and University System of Maryland policies regarding privacy, personnel, records, etc.

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Frostburg State University, students, prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, business partners or research partners. Employees using social media on behalf of the university still must follow all applicable federal requirements such as the Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and HIPAA, as well as NCAA regulations.

Remember that FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. Generally, the university must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student's education record. Do not use Facebook to communicate an issue involving a specific student. Adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination. Other related resources: FSU’s Website, E-mail, and Data Storage Privacy Policy.

Learn what Maryland's Social Media Privacy Law means for college students.

Maryland House Bill 934, approved in 2015, provides guidelines of what an employee at a college or university in Maryland can and cannot do when it comes to accessing social media accounts created by students and prospective students. Essentially, employees cannot require students and prospective students to supply passwords, log-in information, or other security information to view their personal social media account.

One of the key parts of the bill is that a "personal electronic account" does not include an account that is opened on behalf of, or owned or provided by, an institution of postsecondary education. For example, if a student creates a Facebook page for the Frostburg State Department of Geography or a student organization with an advisor, then a faculty advisor or staff member can request access to manage the page.

Adhere to the social media site’s terms of service and respect copyright and fair use.

Many social media sites specifically outline their terms of service. Review these carefully before embarking on a new communications effort via social media. When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the University. When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, or videos, always include citations. Provide a link to the original material if applicable. Here are some copyright and fair use resources:

FSU’s Copyright Information & Resources

USM Policy on Copyrights

University of Maryland's Project NEThics

Center for Social Media

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

It’s about having a conversation …

More platforms are relying less on brands spreading information for free and instead want its regular user base sharing information. Encourage your fans and followers to interact to have a conversation. That should help boost your visibility and feelings about your brand. Check out FSU’s social media marketing plan to learn more about reaching your audience effectively.

Have we missed a guideline for engaging with social media that should be listed here? Or do you have a helpful experience using FSU social media that you’d like to share? Let us know by sending an e-mail to efrostburgcomm@frostburg.edu.