Best Practices

These best practices provide suggestions on how to use social media in ways that can prevent you from inadvertently affecting your professional reputation or how your department or your College is perceived. If you have questions or suggestions about these guidelines or starting or managing social media, please contact College Relations.

  • Familiarize yourself with the policy for Online Communities & Homepages. You can find this policy in the Student Policies Manual.
  • Be professional and respectful always. Anything you post on a social media site in your role as a Lycoming faculty or staff member reflects on you and the College. As such, be professional and deliberate with your comments and avoid engaging in emotionally charged arguments or debates with critics.
  • Be obvious, honest and transparent. Use your own “voice” but make sure it is clear that you are posting as a faculty or staff member at Lycoming. Do not misrepresent who you are or post as another individual.
  • Nothing is truly private in social media. Think about your comments, photos or other content before posting, remembering that anything you share in social media, even within closed networks, becomes publicly available information. Your content can be stored and shared around the world instantly.
  • Be active, timely and responsive. Social media requires diligent attention to remain engaging. Schedule time to check your site(s) at least once a day during the work week and plan to post fresh content several times each week. Social media allows you to share information instantly with wide audiences. These audiences also expect your site to be active and timely and will ignore it if it proves to be otherwise.
  • Interact with your community. Do more than just share news. Offer insights and information that are of interest to the network’s community that may not be available elsewhere. Comment on interesting posts and encourage related dialogues.
  • Accept but monitor comments and postings by others. Social media thrives because of the community’s ability to participate in the “conversation.” To support and encourage this interactivity, you should be prepared to accept and respond – judiciously – to comments, not all of which will be positive. If necessary, to correct misunderstandings or factual errors, respond to negative comments in a professional manner and by providing any information that may be helpful in clarifying the issue. Remove comments that are profane, that attack any individual or group by name or other clearly identifying characteristics and that are obviously advertising or spam. Otherwise, take a light hand.
  • Be a valued member of your own community. Share or re-post information from other, trusted sources that will increase the value of your site and present you as a genuine member of the community.
  • Separate personal from professional. Content that you might share on a personal media site may not be appropriate for sharing on an official College site. Given the public availability of website information, it is also worth considering how you are represented on your personal site as it relates to your work at Lycoming and how that personal site might lead to your being perceived in your role as a faculty or staff member.

For tips on using Facebook, there is a lot of useful information online, including 10 privacy settings tips at http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-privacy-settings-2011-02 and 50 Facebook tips and tricks at http://facebookflow.com/50-tips-and-tricks.