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Category Marketing and Communication
Type Policy
Approved by VCAG, 12 August 2013
Date Policy Took Effect 12 August 2013
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)
Responsible Officer Head, Web Services
Review Date 29 February 2020


This policy covers the setting up and use of social media accounts by staff in the course of their employment.

Organisational Scope

This policy applies to all University of Otago employees.

It should be read in conjunction with the Social Media Guidelines.

It is not intended to limit academic freedom (as defined in section 161 of the Education Act 1989).

It acknowledges that a University has a role to act as critic and conscience of society (referred to in section 162 of the Education Act 1989).

Joint venture collaborators are strongly encouraged to use this Policy as a reference.


Social media is the creation, dissemination and exchange of user-generated content in an electronic and online setting using (but not limited to) blogging, micro-blogging, media sharing, social networks and virtual worlds.

Account Owner means the person who, in the course of their employment, creates a social media account and/or publishes, monitors, maintains and appropriately archives content.

Categories of social media use - The six categories of social media use as defined in the document below.

Department includes Departments, Divisions, Centres, Research groups, Committees, and any other collective administrative body at the University of Otago.

Heads of Departments includes Deans, Heads of Departments, Directors of Centres and Research Groups, Directors of Service Divisions, and Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice-Chancellors acting as heads of their divisional offices.

Marketing & Communications Social Media Advisory Group is the group responsible for administering, coordinating and promoting the University’s social media presence in conjunction with Departments.

Social media provider means the website supplying the social media service including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


  1. Categories of social media use

This document distinguishes between six different categories of social media use:

  1. Use of a University owned social media account by the University in its official capacity. For example, an account that represents the University, a division, school or department.
  2. Use of a University owned social media account related to a University paper or papers (e.g. COMP150).
  3. Use of a University owned social media account by an informal University group. For example, a research laboratory. The group may not necessarily be a financial entity within the University and may have non-staff administering the account (e.g. a graduate student).
  4. Use by an individual who owns a social media account related to his or her University work, but where the content represents the user’s personal views only. For example, an academic with a research-related blog or twitter feed.
  5. Use by an individual who posts to an external social media account that he or she does not own and who does so in a University-related role. For example, an academic commenting on a blog post relevant to his or her research.
  6. Use by an individual who owns a social media account in a private capacity or who posts to an external account in a private capacity.

This policy regulates Categories 1-5 only.

  1. Approval to use a social media provider and social media account

a) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), is required to approve a new social media provider before an account in Category 1 or 2 can be opened. A list of the approved social media providers and the Category 1 social media accounts known to the Marketing & Communications Social Media Advisory Group is maintained on

b) Category 1 and 2 use. Intending account owners must gain approval from the Head of Department before opening an account.

c) Category 3 use. Intending account owners must inform the Head of Department when opening an account.

d) Category 4 use. Intending account owners should inform the Head of Department when opening an account.

e) Category 5 use. Users need not inform the Head of Department.

f) Account owners should notify the University’s Marketing & Communications Social Media Advisory Group of all accounts in Categories 1-3.

  1. Responsibilities

a) Users are responsible for the content they upload to any account to which this policy applies and in doing so must adhere to the Social Media Policy and other related Policies, and consider the Social Media Guidelines.
b) Account owners are responsible for updating and maintaining the social media account. This includes ensuring access to the username and password for the account is maintained.
c) Account owners are responsible for ensuring that any content in breach of University policy or the general law is responded to accordingly or removed from the account as soon as possible.
d) Account owners are responsible for closing or arranging suitable continuity of social media accounts when they are no longer willing or able to manage the account.
e) Heads of Departments are responsible for managing compliance with the Social Media Policy of all social media accounts operated within their department. In particular, each department must establish a procedure for maintaining access to all accounts in Categories 1-3 to ensure compliance with this Policy.
f) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department, has authority to require removal of content from any social media account in Categories 1 to 4 that may result in legal liability to the University.

  1. Disclaimers

a) All accounts in Category 1 should include, where possible, a link to the University’s disclaimer and copyright page:

b) All accounts in Categories 2, 3 and 4 should, where possible, include a disclaimer stating: “The views and opinions expressed in this blog/account are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Otago.”

  1. Best Practice Guidelines

For practical guidance on maintaining a social media account refer to the University’s Social Media Guidelines.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Head of Web Services at