General Rules:

  • Accessibility – RIT is committed to ensuring effective access to communications materials for all members of the University community, including individuals with disabilities.
  • Copyright and fair use - Official RIT social media properties should provide contact names and email addresses, or correct website URLs that point back to the university’s web properties. We emphasize the importance of controlling the administration of organizational social media accounts; that is, keeping the number of administrative publishers to a minimum and having rules in place for managing login credentials. Be careful how you share your social media passwords around the workplace or classroom.
  • Confidentiality – Do not post confidential or proprietary information about RIT, its faculty, its students, its affiliates, its alumni or its employees. University and local policies, applicable federal and state laws and regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA; http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html) and your supervisors should be consulted for guidance on restrictions related to the release of confidential information.
  • “Do No Harm” – RIT encourages the use of social media to enhance its education and research through collaboration, communication, and promotion of research and programs. You must ensure that your authorized use of social media does not harm or otherwise injure the university, its faculty, its students, its alumni, or its employees.
  • Incidental Use: RIT understands that employees utilize social media and the web for personal matters in the modern workplace. While RIT reserves the right to monitor use of its computer systems, employees may engage in incidental personal use of social media in the workplace so long as such use does not consume significant time or resources, interfere with operations and productivity, and does not violate other university policies.
  • Personal Responsibility and Liability – Communications made via social media are not exempt from the expectations and obligations set forth in RIT’s policies or from the laws and regulations that govern personal liability across general and traditional forms of communication. You are responsible for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others, and should only post on behalf of RIT or its affiliates in an official capacity where you have been explicitly authorized to do so.
  • Privacy – Do not post anything that you would not present in any public forum. In particular, do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals on a social media site without their knowledge or permission.

Permanence: Remember that whatever you share (either on RIT’s behalf or your own personal account) may be public for an indefinite period of time, even if you attempt to modify or delete it.

Audience: Be careful what personal information you share online. Many social networking websites are not secured and information is available to anyone with access to a computer and the Internet.

Association: Keep in mind that on many social networking websites, your name and photo/icon appear next to the content that you post and will be associated with you or with the University when you are representing RIT on the web in an official capacity.

Best practices:

  • Be connected. If you have been authorized by your supervisor to create an official RIT social media site, please contact Bob Finnerty, chief communications officer (bob.finnerty@rit.edu) to help with coordination. We would like to list your site on the official RIT Social Media Directory (http://www.rit.edu/socialmedia/). Contact the CCO or univnews@rit.edu for more information.
  • Be transparent. To both protect the RIT name and build trust with users, social media sites that are established on behalf of RIT entities should be explicit regarding the nature of the relationship to RIT. As a social media representative of the university, you should clearly state your position within the university and the limits of your authority to speak on behalf of the University. Clearly state your role and goals. Discuss with your supervisor when you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval. Transparency builds credibility and trust.
  • Be accurate. Though it is ideal to be the first to post on a particular topic, make sure all of the details and facts are accurate. Proofread before posting. Give credit where credit is due by linking to stories or appropriate sources. This will help generate traffic and build the social community.
  • Be active. Diligence and consistency are vital. Social media audiences expect frequent updates.
  • Be timely. Content needs to be current and posted in a timely manner. This includes monitoring and updating. Response to feedback in a timely manner will help build a positive relationship between the site and its audience.
  • Be respectful. As an RIT employee, you understand the university’s commitment to the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t. Your reputation, and RIT’s, are best served when you remain above the fray.
  • Be thoughtful. If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as a RIT employee, ask your supervisor before you post. When in doubt, ask.
  • Be a valued member. If you join a social network make sure you are contributing valuable insights. Don’t post information about topics like RIT events or a book you’ve authored unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is viewed negatively and can lead to you being banned from Web sites or groups.
  • Brand RIT. Visit the University Publications Web site to properly brand RIT within your site: http://www.rit.edu/upub/. Here you will find graphic standards, logo and photo standards, Web standards and more.
  • Think before you post. There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.