Social Media Guidelines

Overview

At Notre Dame, we are committed to teaching, learning, and discovery, and wish to thoughtfully engage in conversation and debate about topics that are relevant in the world today. We recognize the importance of open exchange and collaboration among our many constituents and are committed to upholding the University’s mission to"the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake."

While maintaining our need to promote and protect Notre Dame’s reputation across all channels of communication, we at Notre Dame support the use of social media by employees to connect with students, parents, academic peers, staff, alumni, fans and colleagues. This guide offers information about how to do so effectively, safely and within University guidelines.

Created in order to provide guidance and boundaries for Notre Dame employees and students who use social media on behalf of the University, the Notre Dame Social Media Guidelines only apply to social media accounts created by faculty and staff to represent University of Notre Dame groups, departments, programs, etc. and does not apply to private individual accounts.

Notre Dame’s University Communications team is a resource for the University community for all social media needs or questions.

Social media tools, uses and challenges continue to evolve and Notre Dame will continue to monitor our strategies and best practices for using these media. As a result, this guide will continue to evolve and we will update our policies and best practices for using these media as needed. As a result, if you have suggestions or questions, please e-mail Sue Lister.

Social Media Guidelines

Administrators of social media sites on behalf of the University must adhere to all University policies, especially:

Icons

To ensure that Notre Dame’s branding standards are upheld, please review the visual standards for logos, colors, fonts and graphic elements.

Content

Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws. Do not include confidential information about the University, its staff, or its students.

Acceptable content may be positive or negative in context to the conversation, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable to Notre Dame. However, language that is threatening, defamatory, illegal, obscene, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy, profane, libelous, harassing, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any person or entity, or otherwise injurious or objectionable is unacceptable and shall be removed.

Refrain from using information and conducting activities that may violate local, state, or federal laws, and regulations.

Personal opinions.

Representation of your personal opinions as being endorsed by the University or any of its organizations is strictly prohibited. You may not use the Notre Dame name to promote any opinion, product, cause, or political candidate. Be sure to include the statement:“This is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of the University” when necessary.

You are responsible.

By posting content to any social media site, you agree that you own or control all of the rights to that content, that your use of the content is protected fair use, that you will not knowingly provide misleading or false information, and that you indemnify and hold the University harmless for any claims resulting from the content.

Give credit.

When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, or videos, always include citations. Provide a link to the original material if possible.

It’s why they call it a Web.

Link to related Notre Dame Web sites such as your department or college site and nd.edu .

Be it known.

Notre Dame will not tolerate content that infringes on proprietary information, or that is pornographic, libelous, defamatory, harassing, or inhospitable to a reasonable work environment.

University Communications will not pre-screen content, but it shall have the right to remove any content that is considered to violate content policies.

If you have any questions or doubts about the appropriateness of information you wish to share or someone else has shared on your site, contact the Office of Public Relations.

Best Practices

Consider, before you commit.

  • Do you have time to post fresh content to your site a couple of times a week?
  • Do you have a few minutes every day to check your site for comments and make thoughtful comments on those of others?

If not, reconsider committing to social media at this time. When it comes to the Internet, old content = no content.

Everything you do in your role as a Notre Dame employee reflects on your unit and on the institution, including interaction through social media. Remember to be professional and respectful, and avoid engaging in mean-spirited arguments or debates either on your site or through e-mail.

Everything you share on the Internet, even within a closed network, is — or could become — public information (including e-mail and instant messaging) and it can be shared globally.

Finally, be honest about who you are and how you interact with others.

Once you’ve committed, stay active.

One benefit of utilizing social media is the ability to share information almost instantly with a global audience. Respond quickly to new developments, announcements, or emergencies with relevant information. Offering your audience a small amount of accurate information quickly will be more appreciated and valuable than a full report after the event.

Stay connected.

Make regular comments on interesting posts to your site and on other sites. When commenting as part of your job, be sure to indicate who you are and your affiliation with Notre Dame. Also, consider sharing information you find from other sources on campus as well as trusted sources outside of the University.

Not all comments your site receives will be positive. Respond to negative comments professionally and by providing additional information that may help resolve the issue.

As a proactive measure, post a disclaimer on your site stating you reserve the right to remove inappropriate comments. Then, be diligent about removing comments containing vulgar language, those that attack any group or individual and those that are obviously spam.

Following is an example of a disclaimer you may adapt for your site.

The University of Notre Dame welcomes lively discussion on its Facebook page, but monitors posts to maintain community standards. Content that contains obscenity or profanity, personal attacks, commercial or sales/promotional material or anything otherwise determined to be inappropriate will be deleted by page administrators. If you see a post or comment that you think would benefit from an official Notre Dame response, send the information to Sue Lister in the Office of Public Relations.

It goes both ways.

Reviewing social media is essential to becoming a successful producer of social media content. Read conversations on other sites to develop and maintain a clear and current understanding of what is relevant and of interest to your audiences.

Separate personal from professional.

Balancing both professional and personal social media presences can be challenging, especially if you are active in both arenas. Keep these two presences as separate as possible by keeping content about your personal life on your personal page.

Don’t forget your day-job.

While at work, limit the time you spend attending to your unit’s social media sites as directed by your supervisor.

Definition

Social media is a term used to describe a variety of Web-based platforms, applications and technologies that enable people to socially interact with one another online. Some examples of social media sites include Facebook, YouTube, Del.icio.us, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and other sites with content generated by both the owner and the audience.

Often, these sites include personal profiles where site owners post information about themselves. These social media sites help individuals find others with similar interests and interact with them through networking and sharing information and knowledge.

Social media also allow for easy sharing and re-purposing of existing content, thereby expanding the reach of your work and enabling others to share it with their friends and networks.

Our Sites

University Communications manages the following social media sites. In addition to these, the Alumni Association, Athletics, and many other University offices maintain sites that are specific to their audiences.