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Personal Social Media Use

Social media sites can feel overwhelming because they create scenarios that blur the lines between our public and our private lives.

FSU strongly advocates that faculty and staff educate themselves on how to use their personal privacy settings for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and to take full advantage of them. Here are some helpful articles from that offer some good ideas on how to be safe and protect your private information:

How To Check Social Media Privacy Settings

3 Questions To Ask Before Authorizing Third-Party Apps

A Guide To Protecting Your Online Identity

Social Networks Privacy Settings

The best advice is to use common sense when it comes to social media privacy. It's a good idea to not include sensitive identifiable information like student IDs, social security numbers, addresses, propietiary university business or personal phone numbers of other people. We know this seems obvious, but we're restating it here, anyway.

Depsite the best privacy settings, anyone who you allow to see your social media posts can take a screenshot or photo of the status and spread it online before you have a chance to delete it.

Many faculty and staff struggle with whether or not to add students and co-workers to their private social media networks. There is at least a way to bridge personal and professional business on Facebook. Much like a news anchor or a reporter, faculty and staff might want to build their own brands because of their expertise. Here are guidelines for best practices in how to set up a Facebook page for a journalist to provide some privacy that can also serve faculty and staff well. Another social network like Twitter might be best suited for you instead.

FSU encourages faculty and staff to first and foremost talk to their supervisors and the chairs of their departments about this issue to determine what is appropriate. If they know less about social media than you do, take advantage of our resources to approach them about this issue and discuss it. Here’s an informal sampling of ways FSU faculty and staff approach this issue when it comes to Facebook:

I allow students to friend me on Facebook, but I have a special "student" list so they can only see a handful of pictures and can't see my status updates or other more personal info. It can get ugly if folks don't learn how to use filters on the privacy settings.

For the most part, I avoid being Facebook friends with my immediate coworkers—or at least my supervisors. Even though there are filters and privacy settings, I don't think most people use them effectively. I have found that when people see something on Facebook that surprises them, they share that with others who might not be Facebook friends–old-fashioned gossip. So, as others mentioned, don't put anything on Facebook that you don't want everyone to see.

I enjoy my "friending" relationship with my professional colleagues–esp. those in my own discipline. I appreciate the opportunity Facebook gives me to connect with my peers. 
I have a policy of not "friending" students until after they've graduated. I love teaching and I tend to have great relationships with my students, but I think Facebook can make far too blurry the line between professional and personal. 


And as stated in our social media guidelines, assume everything you communicate via social media is permanent.

If you wouldn’t want it carved in cement or 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.