Social media platforms provide some of the quickest and most direct ways to share information, but with their power to inform also comes institutional risk. Though Oregon State is committed to having a strong social media presence institution-wide, it's important to ensure that messages from faculty, staff and students are strategic and consistent with the university’s overall mission and brand.
These policies have been developed by the University to facilitate legal, safe and effective use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more. They will be updated as needed as social media evolves.
Social media accounts created on behalf of Oregon State University are the sole property of the institution. Creators and administrators of the accounts have no ownership rights.
Whether it’s a snow day or a threat of violence, there will be times when providing information quickly and accurately is vital. In the event of an emergency or high-level announcement to on or off campus communities, university-related social media accounts should refrain from posting any content and refer all followers to the institutional (@oregonstate) social accounts for more information. Depending on the situation, share or retweet university messages and, depending on the situation, may provide additional details that are unique to your area.
If you see content on your social platforms, that might warrant urgent action, please contact campus safety and Steve Clark, URM Vice President, immediately. It’s best to email screenshots of posts and include specifics on platform and date posted. For content that is questionable, don’t hesitate to reach out to the University Marketing social team for guidance. It’s better to over share than risk the university be uninformed.
It’s common for sensitive issues or complicated situations to be discussed on social platforms. During these times, Steve Clark will provide guidance and oversight as the official spokesperson for Oregon State. For example, updates regarding university operations and how we are addressing COVID-19.
Please share any potential issues with the University Marketing social team or if there is a degree of immediacy, with Steve Clark directly. Remember to screenshot anything you see and share as much detail you can provide. Every situation is unique and will require specific tactics for sharing information and making official university statements.
The best way to manage negative feedback from users is to ignore the trolls looking to incite an argument. However, if members of the OSU community provide negative feedback, it's important to address the issue. For those who are very upset, give an option to connect offline and away from public view. If you have the ability to contact them directly, make sure to leave a response in the public forum so others don't assume the issue was ignored.
For minor grievances or complaints try to solve the problem publicly. Be apologetic and offer to help. Try to find a solution, but make sure to not over promise or commit to something that can't be delivered. Negative feedback happens; it's an opportunity to demonstrate the value of our networks and deliver good customer service.
As a state agency, OSU is required by law to protect freedom of speech. These guidelines have been advised by the Office of General Counsel. As such, university-affiliated accounts should not block users, delete or hide comments. In cases where comments include personal calls for violence or include hate speech, it may be important to report these to public safety and URM as well as complete a bias incident response form.
Suggested message for social platforms:
Oregon State University-managed online communities are intended to inform users of OSU-related news and events, as well as foster OSU-related discussion and a sense of community among users.
We encourage you to share your opinions and comments freely about the topics we post, but ask that you provide comments that are respectful and professional. If we become aware of posts that are off-topic; represent advertisements or spam; constitute or encourage illegal activity; infringe upon someone's rights; contain obscenities; or direct and target physical threats, we reserve the right to remove them. Our social pages exist to serve those affiliated with Oregon State University.
Below are categories for the types of negative comments accounts might receive. The OSU institutional accounts cannot block, hide or delete any comments. If comments fall into the extreme or risky categories below please consult with the University Marketing social team to determine what course of action is appropriate, if you are considering deleting or hiding content. Any content that falls into the risky category, reach out to public safety and Steve Clark immediately to help assist with a course of action.
No less than two responsible people must have administrative access to each account. This allows for better regulation of content and creates a failsafe if an administrator were to leave the university. If there is no other representative to serve as an administrator, please contact us and we will be happy to fill that spot.
Announcements like university closures, hirings and more will come directly from the university’s main accounts.
It is important to spend time creating original content for your social media accounts, but if you do share external logos, images, videos, articles, messages or user-generated content, be sure to provide appropriate credit to the original creator.
Oregon State employees and affiliates are required to follow NCAA regulations when communicating on social media. Under no circumstance should an employee or account affiliated with Oregon State University interact with prospective student-athletes.
Use good judgment when sharing recognizable images and information of subjects. Do not include confidential information about the university, its staff, students or materials on any social media sites. All recognizable subjects in imagery must sign a model release form.
Please remember that, depending on your affiliation with the university, your online activity may be subject to other Oregon State policies, including but not limited to the following:
As employees of Oregon State University, what we do and say reflects directly on the institution, including our activity on social media. If you work int he field of communications, what you say on your personal accounts and networks will reflect directly on the university and on your career. The blending of public and private communications is a new reality.
While we like to think our personal accounts are private, it is hard for others to distinguish the difference between our own online personal and professional opinions, especially when our personal accounts make reference to our employer.
It is important to remember this when posting content online in personal accounts. Think twice when posting items that could reflect negatively on OSU. Remember that social media is not private, no matter how strict you are with your privacy settings. if you don't want something to be seen by the public, keep it out of social media. Realize that whatever you post can eventually be seen by coworkers, bosses, friends, family and even future employers. Use your personal accounts thoughtfully.
Things to think about when posting on personal accounts