Guidelines for individual use of social media by professionals at the University
The following social media guidelines pertain to participating in a social media forum as an individual rendering their professional opinion. These guidelines differ from what might best practices for those operating in “official use” (defined above) or “personal use” (i.e. personal content on privately maintained social media platforms).
- Be Professional. Respect confidentiality and respect your audience.
As a general rule, content is appropriate for professional social media use if you would be willing to convey that same content in a professional meeting at the Health Science Center, while wearing your official employee badge. If it is something you would not say to your supervisor, students, patients, or administrators in person, then it is not appropriate for social media either.
- Be Transparent. Be who you are and identify your affiliations.
It is a recommended practice to identify your affiliation with the Health Science Center when engaging in professional use. It is a recommended practice to allow the audience to distinguish professional versus official use, consider including a disclaimer such as, “While I work for the UT Health Science Center, I am not an official spokesperson, and the following comments represent my own professional opinion,” or similar statement.
- Be Consistent. Your online image is a reflection of you.
Example: If you use the handle CancerDoc357 on twitter in a professional use format, do not use this same handle to post personal yahoo reviews that are NOT of a professional tone. This could provide linkage between your different online “voices” (i.e. professional and personal) that you may wish be kept separate.
- Be Smart. Know copyright laws and professional policies, don’t respond online in anger and remember everything online is forever - anything online can be revealed on the front page of the news media - you don't want to be the lead story on the 10 o'clock news!
- Add Value. Reflect the mission of the University - “Make Lives Better.”
- Know the University Policies.