|Category||Marketing and Communication|
|Approved by||Vice-Chancellor, 12 August 2013|
|Date Policy Took Effect||12 August 2013|
|Last approved revision||27 November 2020|
|Sponsor||Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)|
|Responsible officer||Senior Strategy and Policy Advisor, Division of External Engagement|
This policy covers the setting up and use of social media accounts by staff in the course of their employment.
This policy applies to all University of Otago employees.
It is not intended to limit academic freedom (as defined in section 161 of the Education Act 2020).
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 2020).
Joint venture collaborators are strongly encouraged to use this Policy as a reference.
- Social media
- 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
- 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.
- Includes Academic Units, Programmes, 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, Schools or Faculties, 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.
- Social media provider
- The website supplying the social media service including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
1. Approvals required for categories of Social Media use
|Categories of social media use||Policy applies||Approval to use a provider and open an account required by||Disclaimers|
|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.||Yes||Intending account owners must also gain approval from the Head of Department. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), is required to approve a new social media provider before an account can be opened. Account owners must notify email@example.com when a new account is activated.||Where possible, include a link to the University's disclaimer and copyright page: https://www.otago.ac.nz/tools/disclaimer.html|
|2. Use of a University owned social media account related to a University paper or papers (e.g. COMP 150).||Yes||Intending account owners must also gain approval from the Head of Department. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), is required to approve a new social media provider before an account can be opened. Account owners must notify firstname.lastname@example.org when a new account is activated.||Include a disclaimer stating: “The views and opinions expressed in this account are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Otago.”|
|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).||Yes||Intending account owners must inform the Head of Department when opening an account. Account owners must notify email@example.com when a new account is activated.||Include a disclaimer stating: “The views and opinions expressed in this account are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Otago.”|
|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.||Yes||Intending account owners should inform the Head of Department when opening an account.||Include a disclaimer stating: “The views and opinions expressed in this account are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Otago.”|
|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.||Yes||Users need not inform the Head of Department.|
|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.||No|
2. Responsibilities of staff and account owners
- 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.
- 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 and kept secure.
- Account owners are responsible for ensuring that any content in breach of University policy or the law is responded to accordingly or removed from the account as soon as possible.
- 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. If an account owner leaves the University and no arrangements have been made the HoD or Project Owner is responsible for continuity or closure of social media accounts.
- 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.
- 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 or reputational to the University.
3. Social Media guidelines for staff
- The Internal Communications and Social Media team (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Communications Office, can give you good advice and access to a range of resources such as images approved for public use.
- Be familiar with and follow the Social Media Policy and other related University policies and regulations.
- Always be aware of how the general public will interpret what you say, and use appropriate writing style, tone and language.
- Be transparent and use your real name when discussing university-related topics or issues.
- If you are representing a Department, Programme, Academic Unit, course or paper, confine yourself to relevant information.
- In some forums it may be appropriate to give a personal opinion. If it is appropriate, then make sure you indicate you are giving your personal opinion and not that of the University or your department.
- Anything you say will be available online for a long time – so take care what you say and correct any errors.
- Make sure you consider copyright issues relating to any content you use.
- Privacy is important. Take care not to publish information that should not be made public. If in doubt then don't publish. Refer to the Privacy at Otago webpage which links to key University policies and external information related to privacy and seek advice from the Internal Communications and Social Media team.
- Confine yourself to your area of expertise and talk about what you know.
- Stay within the legal framework and be aware that defamation, copyright and privacy laws, among others, apply.
4. Social Media account owners – How to meet your responsibilities
- There are specific requirements for creating accounts for the first four categories of social media use defined above.
- Before starting a social media account you need to consider things such as:
- Is there a more appropriate account already in place
- Your target audience(s)
- Your content strategy
- Your goals and objectives
- The benefits, risks and mitigations for those risks
- The on-going resources required
- Your measure for success
- Contact the Internal Communications and Social Media team at email@example.com when creating your account to assist with naming and branding of new pages. Do not simply use “University of Otago” as that implies the account represents the entire University.
- All new Facebook and Instagram accounts must integrate with the University of Otago Business Manager account. This will ensure continuity of pages can be managed. Contact the Internal Communications and Social Media team to arrange this.
- Regular monitoring and moderating of your account is very important.
- Implement a robust protocol for accessing the account should the account owner be unable to do so. Contact the Internal Communications and Social Media team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance with this. Consider attending social media related training to understand what is expected of an account owner.
- Delegate responsibilities clearly, but trust staff to follow the Policy and Guidelines.
- As the Social Media Policy and Guidelines only apply to staff, careful consideration should be given before granting students administrative privileges on social media accounts.
Related policies, procedures and forms
- University of Otago Web Policy
- University of Otago Web Guidelines
- University of Otago Brand Policy
- University of Otago Brand Guide
- University of Otago Talent Release Form (PDF)
- University of Otago Ethical Behaviour Policy
- University of Otago Internet Usage Policy
- University of Otago Policy on Managing News Media Enquiries
Contact for further information
If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the
Senior Strategy and Policy Adviser