August 30, 2013

From Gerald R. Lucas

Social Media: Top Ten Best Practices


Likely other institutions are having the same conversation: what do we do about social media use within the college and their reflection on the college?

I found myself as the only full-time faculty member (!) on an ad hoc committee this summer discussing this very thing. This “Social Media Committee” discussed and drafted a policy concerning its use among “employees” of the college — i.e., its faculty and staff. Being who I am, I was hesitant to write any official policy[1] about social media because, well — does the university community really need another new policy?

Instead, my recommendation was a set of guidelines for best practices that would speak to the administration’s concerns about college representatives using social media and how that use reflected on the college. Indeed, this whole thing started by some questionable cat dissection videos being posted where they didn’t belong. This was likely an honest mistake, yet these mistakes need to be avoided in the future. Dissecting cats is appropriate, just not on the college’s marketing YouTube channel. How we can avoid these mistakes seemed to be the committee’s purview.

In our last meeting, the Provost was in attendance, and I made my suggestion about best practices. She seemed to like this idea, so I present my current top ten practices for higher ed faculty[2] using social media. I’ve put these in order of importance, and — who knows — they might change tomorrow. Here goes.

Read more on The Synapse.


  1. There is already a faculty social media policy in place, anyway, which essentially states that faculty use them in a “responsible manner, respecting the public trust through which these resources have been provided, the rights and privacy of others, the integrity of facilities and controls, state and Federal laws, and [college] policies and standards.”
  2. While these are specifically about faculty, several might also apply to staff members.