Think of our digital environment as a form of personal exchange. Appreciating that it may be the first or only opportunity to engage a student, prospective faculty member, community member, or other stakeholder in an evolved digital environment, interactions should be genuine and intelligent. Venturing into digital social spaces and recognizing the capacity for authentic dialogue, we forge connections that would be otherwise weak or non-existent.
In short the purpose of social media is to create connections between audience aspirations and the wealth of available Rensselaer opportunities and services.
Though there are many individuals, offices, and portfolios on a myriad of social media platforms, as representatives of the Institute we should speak with one message.Institute-sanctioned Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat, etc., accounts should carry the official message of Rensselaer.
Social media is a powerful tool for generating awareness, publicizing events, disseminating important information, increasing website traffic, increasing attendance to events, and engaging with your audience in a more personal way. Before a department or office starts using social media on behalf of Rensselaer, the entity should write out goals for the account, to provide direction when using the account(s), as well as to have a measurement to evaluate how the accounts are performing.
Avoid duplicating efforts
Consider if your content can be included on another Rensselaer social media page instead of creating your own page. For instance, if you are a subsidiary program of an academic department, could you post your update to the department's page? If so, you should contact the administrators of those pages first to see if they are open to publicizing your information or perhaps sharing account access with you rather than having a duplicate (or very similar) account created that would compete for users' attention.
Before starting into social media of any kind, be sure to allocate adequate time to update the account regularly. Some posts may be scheduled, but social media needs regular attention—and in most cases daily attention—to help it thrive.
Clear and Professional
Be sure to consult the Policy on Electronic Citizenship available at http://dotcio.rpi.edu/policy/comec in advance of a foray into social media. All employees are required to adhere to the policies contained therein.
Professional Accounts on Behalf of Rensselaer
If you choose to have a professional account where you represent Rensselaer, your online identity is an extension of the official Institute Web presence and as such must adhere to the same standards.
Official accounts should be separate from any personal accounts and include a head shot, title, and Rensselaer email address. Identify who you are and your connection to the office and the Institute. This is especially important for forums where posts are anonymous; you should identify yourself and your authority to speak for the Institution. Any social media posts are permanent even if you later delete them and any comments, tweets, links, or posts could be culled for quotes by media organizations.
Before posting, always check facts and remove any inaccurate or inadvertently inappropriate comments.
Consider who you like or follow and be sure they align with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and not personal interests. Be sure to carefully review material before posting links, pictures, etc., for any direct or indirect issues.
It goes without saying that you must follow the rules of the platform you are using and respect copyright and other laws.
Do no harm
Maintain confidentiality and compliance with FERPA (the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act). Consider how posts may be perceived and consider wording and content carefully.