Office of Communications

Social Media Guidelines

This policy provides guidelines for communicators using social media on behalf of Illinois Wesleyan University academic and administrative departments or registered student organizations. The goal of this policy is to provide guidance so that social media communications are supportive of the University’s overall communications goals and are consistent with the University’s values and general policies related to conduct, privacy, legal usage, accuracy, etc.

Following are the policy guidelines for social media communicators:

Support Our Identity : Social media communications on behalf of the University should reinforce our core messages and visual identity.

Follow Applicable Policies :  Individuals representing the University through social media channels are responsible for knowing and abiding by University policies governing standards of conduct, such as those in the Student, Faculty and Support Staff Handbooks, the Sexual Harassment Policy, and the IWU Information Technology Usage Policy. The IT Usage policy includes provisions for copyright observance, privacy rights, courtesy, sanctions, and liability. The various handbooks provide definitions and sanctions against harassment and intolerance.

Be Respectful :  When using social media, common principles of good manners and good judgment should be observed. Put simply: Don't be rude, don't be mean, and don't be stupid.

  1. Respect applicable copyright and fair use laws. https://libguides.iwu.edu/copyright
  2. Respect the privacy of others and yourself.
  3. Respect your audience. As ambassadors of the University, be courteous and professional.
  4. Respect the reach and longevity of the World Wide Web. Remember that colleagues, family members, peers and current/future/potential employers can and will see your output.
  5. Respect our reputation. While social media channels are informal by nature, remember that we represent excellence in higher education, so don't lose your grip on basic grammar and spelling.

Follow these additional guidelines to ensure that your communication is useful to your followers and consistent with the mission of the University: 

Identify Yourself : Don't hide or misrepresent your identity when posting. When posting as a representative of the University, indicate your connection or role with the university. 

Account Ownership : Clearly assign responsibility to the person(s) in charge of regularly posting and monitoring the content on a social networking site. Remember to make arrangements for succession, transferring responsibility and administrative access to the account when necessary. Keep passwords secure.

Stay Connected : Maintain the account with regular updates and postings. Respond to prompts and questions in a timely manner. If you can’t devote time to this important task, don’t start a social media account.

Allow Interaction : Social media demands authenticity. It is generally best not to censor or delete unflattering comments. However, it is recommended to delete comments or posts that contain profanity, obvious spam, and any messages that are discriminatory or otherwise offensive. Consider posting a disclaimer on your social media site that you reserve the right to remove such comments.

Be Accurate : Take the time to learn about an issue or topic before posting. Where possible, provide relevant links for those who want more information. If something has been posted in error, admit and correct the mistake as soon as possible.

Protect Confidentiality : Don't share information that is not meant to be common knowledge.

Don’t Spam : Respect your peers and do not use this space to post irrelevant information.