Many school libraries are devising policies for faculty, and students, outlining acceptable use guidelines for blogs and other social media. Schools have a unique set of challenges when it comes to developing such policies.
In a time when the distinction between personal and professional realms is fading, it seems everyone has a Facebook or Twitter profile now, and a social media policy is a way to set ground rules for your employees. It provides a standard for how they will post content that could ultimately reflect on your organization.
What to include in a social media policy
First, take a look at the types of applications you have, like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks, as you are devising an internal policy. Look into establishing best practices, and suggestions for posting. Here are a few points to consider:
- Disclaimer. In your blogs, and other social channels—state that opinions are not of organization. The opinions that are expressed do not necessarily represent those of your organization.
- Proprietary information. Don’t allow disclosure of sensitive information like the university's financial details.
- Copyrights. Your employees understanding of fair use laws regarding republishing protected content and sources is their responsibility.
- Respecting colleagues. The privacy of your coworkers is typically outlined in an employee handbook. The same extends to social media. Posting photos, video clips, or information about them without permission isn't acceptable either.
- Avoid being argumentative. Responses to someone’s opinion should be handled in a non-controversial tone and in a professional manner.
- Check your accuracy. Ensuring that your posts are accurate and factual is paramount.
- Use good judgment. The image of your library is archived permanently once online. There are very few social websites that can completely eliminate your post from online searches.
Establishing your library social media policy, along with other standard policies, will help your organization run wisely. Here are some other university libraries’ social media policies:
- Arcadia University (The College of Global Studies’ social media policy)- Purdue- Ferris State University- Ball State University- Tufts University
TIP: It’s a good idea to place just one person in charge of all of your library’s social media posts, including the moderation of comments.
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