UCI's Social Media Guidelines are intended to provide support and guidance for UCI departments and organizations in the management of their UCI social media channels and activity online. These guidelines are meant to be dynamic, and as new norms emerge, they will be updated.
When you explore and engage in social media communities for university activities, it is important that you do so only at a level where you feel comfortable. Approach online worlds in the same way you do the physical one — by using sound judgment and common sense, by adhering to UCI's values, and by following UCI's principles of community, UC diversity statement, UC statement of ethical values and standards of ethical conduct and all other applicable policies.
Be professional and respectful
Be respectful of the diversity of our fans, enthusiasts and community — all individuals, races, religions and cultures. How you conduct yourself in the online social media space not only reflects on you — it is also a direct reflection on UCI.
The nature of social media often gravitates toward a more casual and relaxed tone, but it's important to keep your communications professional, just as you would strive to do in emails or other business messages.
Also be sensitive to how posts may be interpreted by others. It always helps to have another person review to check for personal biases, etc.
Remember: Direct or private messages, emails, etc. can easily be made public with screen shots, etc.
"We," not "me."
Respect copyright/intellectual property laws
Respect the laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others, including UCI's own copyrights and brands. Always credit content (photos/images, music, videos, text, etc.) that you did not create. A best practice is to always credit a source or link to others' work rather than reproduce it.
Give credit where it's due.
Carefully consider what you post
Members of the UCI community are personally responsible for their words and actions. As online spokespeople, you must ensure that your posts are completely accurate and not misleading, and that they do not reveal non-public information about UCI. Exercise sound judgment and common sense. If there is any doubt, DO NOT POST. It's perfectly acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it's not okay to disclose anything that contains confidential, proprietary, personal or private information about UCI, its employees, students, affiliates, vendors or suppliers.
Ask permission to post photos of people who are identifiable in images. There are varying degrees of personal privacy, and we want to respect those who prefer to stay out of the public eye.
When in doubt, leave it out
Any advertising, promotion or overtly favorable acknowledgement or endorsement of third-party products and services is not permitted. Many policies and legal requirements can apply if you will be using social media for purposes such as human subjects research, fundraising, political, whistleblower or volunteer activity. Please be sure to understand these requirements first.
Protect personal information
For safety and security reasons, refrain from posting personal contact information (home and cell phone numbers, mailing or home addresses, personal email addresses, etc.) on social media sites. Remember that everything you post on social media is public and can live on forever.
The speed of being able to publish to social media is both a great feature and a great downfall of social media. The time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. If you are uncertain about a post, take some time to identify any questions before publishing.
Proofread. Use a spell-checker. If possible, have someone else review it so that you have an outside opinion.
Be honest about who you are. Clearly identify yourself and fully disclose any affiliation you may have with UCI.
Let the subject matter experts respond
It is important that any information you post or respond to has all the correct facts and information. There will be times when specific questions are asked that may be outside your area of knowledge or expertise. Unless you are the online spokesperson for a particular subject, avoid the temptation to respond yourself. Instead, try and direct these questions to the appropriate channels to which the question is referring.
For example, if you receive a question regarding admissions, an appropriate response would be, "Hi, XXXX. You can find more information for prospective students, including how UCI selects its freshman class, on the UCI Admissions website."
We encourage you to support each other's social efforts and collaborate whenever possible to show solidarity among all UCI schools, divisions, departments and programs and share content when it is appropriate across your social media channels.
Handling inappropriate posts
Remember that everyone has the right to share his/her opinions, whether positive or negative. However, there will be times when appropriate actions are needed in response to particular posts. Your first instinct should not be to delete a post because you disagree with it. If possible, use the opportunity to solve a problem or generate a productive discussion.
While UCI supports free speech activities, UCI social media sites are for official university activities and must comply with university policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. For any post that involves the promotion of violence, or is believed to be discriminatory, harassing, defamatory or obscene, do the following:
- Do not respond to the post.
- Print and save a copy of the post for your records. Include the date when it was originally posted and who posted it. Also try to include the URL (click the post's timestamp). If possible, take a screen shot.
- Notify your immediate supervisor.
- If necessary, consult with the Office of the Campus Counsel or UCI Police as to appropriateness of removal of the post and taking further action. Posts that violate the platform's community guidelines can be deleted or hidden (i.e. Facebook Community Standards, Twitter Community Standards, Instagram Community Guidelines, YouTube Community Standards). Try to copy or screenshot the post for your records.
All content, information and views expressed on social media belong to the individual posting the content and do not necessarily reflect UCI's official policies or positions. The university is not responsible for unanswered posts or inaccurate information posted by others.
In general, don't feed the trolls.
For more information on Free Speech, see UCI Rights of Free Speech and Academic Freedom.
- Facebook Community Standards
- Twitter Community Standards
- Instagram Guidelines
- YouTube Community Standards
Be aware of the Social Media Privacy Act
The Social Media Privacy Act, passed by the California Legislature in September 2012, prohibits public and private college employees and representatives from requiring or requesting a student, prospective student, or student group to disclose, access, or divulge personal social media account information.