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Does Your Campus Have A Social-Media Policy?

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Even before evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller hit “send” on his idiotic Tweet, I’d been thinking about asking people what kind of social media policy might be in place on their campus.

I (quite literally) just did a quick search on the site for the University of South Carolina Upstate, where I work, and found these :

That first link is a page of advice; the second specifies what is and is not allowed by the university and includes this paragraph:

The purpose of the Social Media Policy is to ensure accuracy, consistency, integrity and protection of the identity and image of the University of South Carolina Upstate by providing a set of required standards for social media content from any department, school, facility, organization, entity, or affiliate.

I also see that this policy reads “Approved May 2013,” but I haven’t seen any announcements about it (nor do I recall anyone being solicited to help create it).

Hmmm… I’m not sure how I feel about this.

On the one hand, yes, it makes sense “to ensure accuracy, consistency, integrity and protection” of the image of the university.

On the other hand, what about academic freedom? According to this document, USC Upstate “adheres in principle to the American Association of University Professors Statement on Academic Freedom” and “[t]he university’s policy shall be to defend academic freedom against any encroachment.”

In this new social media policy, does “entity” or “affiliate” (see above) include individual employees? If so, am I really expected to get permission for my own social media accounts, several of which I’ve been using for close to a decade, before I was hired by this campus? Social media is a publishing platform; so is, for example, print, but it would be bizarre to create a campus policy that required all faculty publications of traditional print books or journal articles to first be approved by some central authority on campus.

Right? Am I overthinking this? Perhaps overreacting?

What’s the social media policy like where you work? Do you even have one? If so, who was responsible for creating it? What kind of input did faculty have (if any)? Is it widely known? Is it available online? Please share in the comments (including links, if possible). Thanks!

[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by Rock Cousteau]

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