Today’s students have communicated and shared experiences on social media sites for most of their lives. It's an essential part of how they interact with the world. If we want to be a part of their world, we need to talk with them through these platforms.
When you post something on social media, think of it as the same thing as talking to someone in person. We're having a conversation, exchanging information, interacting with each other, and discussing things that our audience wants to know.
However, social media has an advantage over speaking face to face: You have time to think about what you say before anyone hears or reads it.
- Always remember that when someone reads a social-media post from anyone identifying themselves as a Mason employee, they think of that person AS George Mason University. To them, you are the face of the university, no matter what title you hold, or which department you represent.
- Be aware of social media’s wide reach, and be thoughtful about what you say and how you say it.
- Double-check information for accuracy before posting it on university websites and social media platforms.
- Assume that people outside Mason read your posts. Don’t expect anything on social media platforms to be private.
- Don’t post content that’s discriminatory, threatening, or unlawful. In addition to embarrassing yourself and the university, you could get kicked off the social media platform. Don’t get carried away in the heat of the moment.
- Never disclose private, confidential, privileged, proprietary, sensitive, or non-public information about Mason, such as information about students, or anything about the university that has not been made available to the public.
- It’s OK to re-post, without any change, official Mason communications (for example, the annual President’s Report).
Get the Result You Want
If your unit has a social media presence or wants one, you must have someone on staff who will manage the day-to-day site maintenance. This can't be left to whoever has time to deal with it on a given day; it's a serious responsibility that must be taken seriously. That also means you can't leave it up to an unsupervised student worker.
Without a clear plan, you miss opportunities to talk about Mason's accomplishments, go off message, or in the worst case, damage the university's reputation. Use social media to:
- Convey Mason's message.
- Connect with prospective students.
- Communicate with the university community.
- Tell the Mason story to the world
- Encourage students to share their stories.
- Respond quickly to comments, questions, and complaints.
- Tell people what's happening in real time, with text, photos, and videos.
- Alert people to upcoming events they might want to attend.
Resources and Policies
- Mason Web Standards and Guidelines
- George Mason University Brand Profile
- University Publication and Printing Function and Policies
- Use of the University’s Trademarks
- Responsible Use of Computing
- University Affiliated Social Media Sites
- Participation in Political Activities
- Continuity of Operations Planning
- Records Management
- Commonwealth of Virginia state employee policy, 1.75 Use of Electronic Communications and Social Media
- Commonwealth of Virginia state employee policy, 1.6 Standards of Conduct First Amendment
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA)
- Virginia Freedom of Information Act