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Social Media Procedure

Administrative Procedure 3.903


The purpose of this procedure is to provide a framework for requesting and/or creating a social media page and/or account that represents your department or area at ECC, as well as to outline appropriate and responsible use of social media channels while utilizing College equipment and College likeness, i.e., logo, College name.

The ECC Communications Office is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the College’s official social media accounts, as well as monitoring mentions of Elgin Community College and its entities on various online sites, including social media. In addition to this, the Communications Office also provides advice and training to College employees who use social media as a part of their jobs.

Definitions of Terms Referenced

1. Social Media Page/Account: refers to any online or web-based site or social network where users create a profile or page, upload or share content, or interact with other users, and may include, but is not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, or Tumblr. For purposes of this policy, the terms social media page/account also will refer to blogs or blogging sites.

Procedure for Requesting and/or Creating a Social Media Page/Account

1. If you are interested in creating a social media account for your department, office, or student club/organization at Elgin Community College, you are required to arrange a meeting with the Communications Office to discuss goals and strategy, as well as to review guidelines and best practices.

a. During the meeting, the Communications Office will review your goals to determine if a social media account is the best solution to fit your needs, or if the content is more appropriate for one of the College’s official social media accounts or other communication channels. The Communications Office will also review with you the responsibilities of maintaining a social media account.
b. If your office is approved to move forward with a social media account, you will be required to designate two employees from your office as administrators for the account with access to the username/password. The names of your account administrators need to be provided to the Communications Office for the College’s master list of social media users. Account administrators also will be required to attend a social media guidelines review session.

2. If a social media account(s) already exists for your department, office, College-approved committee, or student club/organization, you are required to meet with the Communications Office to discuss goals and strategy, as well as to review best practices and ensure your account complies with the best practices outlined below. You will also be required to designate two employees from your office as administrators for the account with access to the username/password. The names of your account administrators need to be provided to the Communications Office for the College’s master list of social media users. Account administrators also will be required to attend a social media guidelines review session.

3. If a social media page/account is not an official ECC sanctioned page/account, but references ECC or an affiliation with ECC through an activity, program or interest, users will need to post a disclaimer on their page/account. (Examples: ECC employee unions or alumni groups.) Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are solely those of the page administrator(s). Elgin Community College expressly disclaims responsibility or liability for any data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, images, video, messages, or any other materials whatsoever (“Content”) generated by users and publicly posted on this page. Further, Elgin Community College disclaims responsibility or liability for the content of any target site linked from this page.

Procedure for Dealing with Inactive Social Media Page/Account

1. If your social media page/account has been inactive for more than one semester, the Communications Office will contact the page/account administrator(s) regarding the status of the page/account. If the page is no longer necessary or the administrators are not posting regularly, the Communications Office will consult with the leader of the department or office responsible for the page/account to determine whether they would like to continue using the account. If not, the Communications Office will work with the service provider to delete the page/account.

Procedure for Managing Inappropriate Posts or Comments by Other Users

1. If someone puts an inappropriate or inflammatory post or comment on your page/account, use discretion in responding and refer to the Best Practices in this procedure, as well as the training provided by the Communications Office. Account administrators also can contact the Communications Office for assistance
in crafting a response.

2. If a post or comment on your page/account threatens violence, please contact Campus Police immediately as well as the Communications Office to discuss the appropriate response.

Best Practices

Maintain Confidentiality:

All users are prohibited from posting confidential or proprietary information about ECC, students, employees or alumni and should adhere to all applicable College privacy and confidentiality policies, as well as state and federal privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) etc. Examples of confidential information include but are not limited to student ID numbers, home addresses, social security numbers, financial information and contact information. Proprietary information includes but is not limited to quotation of copyrighted materials without proper citation or attribution.

Respect Copyright and Fair Use:

Copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the College should be respected. Permission to use or reproduce copyrighted works is required unless the intended use is clearly permitted under the “fair use” exemption. These include music, art, literary works, copyrighted photographs or texts, video clips, audiovisual works, and audio recordings. For questions about fair use or copyright, see Copyright Administrative Procedure 3.301 or call the ECC Library at 847-214-7595.

Respect College Time and Property:

College computers and time while at work are reserved for College-related business as approved by supervisors and in accordance with Administrative Procedure 7-101 Responsible Use of Information Technology. Social networking not related to College business is limited by procedure 7-101 and is encouraged to be done on personal time using personal computers and not College or other state resources.

Understand Your Personal Responsibility:

Staff and faculty are personally responsible for the content they publish on social media sites, blogs, other websites, wikis, forums, or any other form of user-generated content. What you publish online will be publicly accessible for an extended amount of time. Be mindful of what you post and protect your privacy and the privacy of others.

Maintain Transparency:

The fine line between personal and professional activities on social media sites is blurred easily. Be conscientious about what you post and how you portray yourself and the College. In posts on College social media sites, be honest about who you are and what you represent (i.e., your affiliation with the College). Keep your personal social media use separate from your professional/College social media use. If you discuss matters relating to the College in personal posts on non-College or personal social media sites, you should be clear that the post is of a personal nature and does not represent the views of Elgin Community College. In this regard, the College encourages a disclaimer such as: “The posts on this site are solely mine and do not constitute or represent the opinion of Elgin Community College.”

College Logo:

The College logo, in its various forms, is a registered servicemark protected by the State of Illinois. Therefore, the College logo cannot be used without permission. Use of the College logo on personal social media sites is strictly prohibited.

Correct Mistakes:

If you make a mistake, correct it. Be open and honest; admit you’ve made an error. If you can correct the original post, do so and be clear that you are making a correction. If you need to add an amended post, do so.

Be Respectful and Professional:

If you are respectful and professional, even while disagreeing with a person or post, you will achieve greater results. View comments or concepts you disagree with as an opportunity for candid and respectful dialogue.

Be Involved and Use Etiquette:

If you participate in social networking sites, follow etiquette and contribute constructive content. Social media sites are not the place for confrontational conversations or spam postings. These types of behaviors are not tolerated and can result in being banned from the sites where you use this behavior.

Be Mindful; Think Before You Submit Content:

There is no expectation of privacy on any social networking sites. Search engines can index and display posts, content, remarks, and pages any time after they have been published. There are archiving services that cache sites even if they have been taken down and replaced or updated. If you are having a heated reaction to content, take a
moment to compose yourself in a respectful and professional way before you respond or act. Post only information, photos, images, and other user-generated content that you are comfortable being completely public and archived by third-party sites or services.

Examples of Activities That Are Prohibited:

1. Posting, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, slanderous, libelous, hateful or unlawful content.
2. Posting content or material that would jeopardize another individual’s safety, privacy or security.
3. Posting content that infringes on any third-party rights, including intellectual property, privacy, or publicity rights.

For questions, contact the Communications Office at or call 847-214-7823.