Social Media Guidelines

  1. Social media includes social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn; Twitter; blog accounts (Wordpress, etc.); video sharing sites (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), and photo sharing sites (Flickr, Instagram, etc.).
  2. The University has published social media guidelines, and the following College guidelines build off of these already-established University-wide guidelines. Please familiarize yourself with these and follow them in any social media activities in which you may be posting as a representative of the University, and not as yourself.
  3. The College of Education website (www.ed.psu.edu/) remains the official communications vehicle for the College, and keeping the College website timely and up-to-date should be the priority. Units should consider posting announcements on both their respective College of Education websites and social media sites to reach a broader audience.
  4. Contact the Director of Communications (edrelations@psu.edu) anytime you plan to create a social media account for a unit in the College, so your sites can be added to a list of social media sites. This allows us to promote all the social networking resources in the College in one place.
  5. Facebook sites should add the Communications office profile as an administrator of the site. Contact the Director of Communications () for information about the Facebook profile to be added.
  6. Overall, the University discourages smaller units from setting up social media pages that may be little-used or seldom updated. With that in mind, units should consider setting up social media sites that represent a larger unit, such as a department or center, as opposed to a smaller unit, such as a program or individual initiative. Doing so will:
    • make our overall message easier to manage.
    • consolidate work time spent in managing multiple social networking pages in the College.
    • encourage faculty, staff and students to expand their network within the College and engage with others who have similar interests but may not be in their own individual program.
  7. Participating in social media is very time-consuming.To do it well, page administrators should be checking the page at least daily if not more often to respond to questions and posts. Administrators also should be posting often to encourage participation and to stay relevant to users. If faculty members are not able to dedicate time to this endeavor, then they should not start a social media presence for their respective unit.
    • Students (graduate or undergraduate) should not be the primary administrators of any social media sites for the College. While a unit may have an outstanding student in place who is willing and able to keep the platform fresh and current, that person will graduate and then the site may languish. It doesn’t speak well for a program if a prospective student checks out your social media and sees that it hasn’t been updated in six months – so you may do your program more harm than good by setting up social media sites.
    • The faculty or staff member page administrator should approve all posts on the site.
  8. Social media is a very public activity. Administrators posting on these pages do so as communicators representing the College and the University and must abide by the University guidelines for administrators noted in item 2 above. Those who wish to post items that do not meet with these guidelines can participate in social media using their own personal accounts. The University guidelines for communicators noted in item 2 above apply only to those posting as an administrator on a Penn State-branded social media site.
  9. Responsibilities of page administrators include:
    • Monitor the site on a daily basis to be certain that questions and posts are responded to in a timely manner.
    • Post regularly on the site to drive engagement and to make the page a valid and important communication outlet.
    • Remove inappropriate comments, spam posts, etc.
  10. If students or alumni have already created a page for your program or department, please ask them to stop and send their fans over to the official page. If they refuse to delete the page, please asked them to change the name of the group to something that more accurately reflects their relationship to the program: "Students in the Penn State Adult Ed Program" versus "Penn State Adult Education Program." The owner of such a site also must include a statement saying that this is not the official Facebook page of the Penn State unit in question.
  11. Please review and follow the University-level guidelinesregarding content posted on the site.
    • You should have a statement saying we reserve the right to remove improper postings. Administrators should review the site often to make sure postings are appropriate.
    • The Director of Communications can help add these statements to your site.
  12. When posting photos and other media, please consider the privacy of the individuals in the images. Send an e-mail to the individuals pictured letting them know you plan to post them on Facebook. Please also refrain from posting images that may reflect poorly on the University.
  13. Please use Penn State and not PSU or The Pennsylvania State University when referring to the University.
  14. Units considering creating a social media site should consider the following questions:
    • What are the goals of creating such a site?
    • Who will be the intended audience(s) for this site?
    • What messages do we want to share on this site?
    • Who will write the messages for the site?
    • Who will update the site?
    • How often do you plan to post content to the site?

Email for more information.