Social media platforms allow an individual or organization to have a dialogue with others about work and certain activities at SDSU, but not if that dialogue includes confidential information. Confidential information includes such things as unpublished details about our software, details of a current project, research, financial information, trade secrets and even future product ship dates. It is important to respect the privacy of the relationships between SDSU and corporations and the confidentiality of current projects.
Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see information that would be similarly available on sdstate.edu. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limited access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see.
Do not use false screen names, blog anonymously or use pseudonyms. As a public institution, it is important that we are transparent and honest. If you are an individual, use your real name, be clear who you are and identify that you work for SDSU. Do not communicate anything that is dishonest, untrue or misleading. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish is public and can be seen by a great number of individuals, so consider content carefully and be cautious about disclosing personal details.
It is important to respect laws governing copyrighted material owned by others and its fair use or fair dealing, including SDSU's own copyrights, registrations and brands. Short references and attribution of someone else's work is strongly recommended and always attribute to the original author and/or source of the work. It is good practice to link to other's work rather than reproduce it.
It is important to understand your audience and recognize that everyone reflects a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. It is important not to engage in dialogue that is contradictory or in conflict with the position of the University if you are doing so as a representative or employee of SDSU. It is important to represent your views, but in a respectful manner. This includes no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc., but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion. Use your best judgment and be sure to establish clearly that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of SDSU.
Faculty, staff, students, alumni or business partners should not be cited or referenced without their approval, unless the reference is to an official communication released by the University. If no such communication has been released, then never identify someone by name without permission and never discuss confidential details of a project. On most occasions, a partnership between the University and an outside company includes nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements.
Facts are friendly
If you see misrepresentations made about SDSU in the media or a controversial topic being discussed on a social media platform, it can be addressed. But it is important to do so with respect and most importantly with the correct facts. Facts either need to be cited in the response or linked to the information on a website – most preferably to sdstate.edu in this case. Avoid arguments and make sure what you are saying is factually correct.
If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper, deal with it quickly – better to remove it immediately to lessen the impact and possibility of legal action if it potentially includes copyrighted material or a defamatory comment.
Many social media users include a disclaimer stating whom they work for, but that they are not speaking officially. This is good practice and is encouraged, but it does not necessarily grant you legal freedom. Always consider the possible consequences of what you are posting.
Understand your role as an employee
Any employee of SDSU is free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with the approved guidelines. Employees are subject to the following guidelines to the extent they identify themselves as an employee of SDSU.
Publication and commentary on social media platforms carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or public statement. All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that SDSU employees must otherwise follow.
You need to be aware that many commercial sites (such as YouTube and Facebook) impose "click through" Terms of Service agreements. These sites require a statement of indemnification and agreement to be sued in another state, such as California or New York. If you are going to use these sites, you must understand that your agreement to these terms is being taken in your personal capacity alone. In other words, you will be personally, solely responsible for any legal claims that might arise as a result of the agreement you "signed" by clicking on "agree" in the terms of service.
SDSU social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Flickr, and YouTube) are your fan pages and we encourage you to leave comments and links that are relevant to South Dakota State University and the topics being discussed as well as appropriate in light of the university's status as a public land-grant institution. Comments that are inappropriate or offensive are subject to removal without notice. They include comments that:
- promote commercial enterprises;
- sell or solicit offers to sell goods or services for personal gain; or
- promote a specific political candidate or political party.
We also ask that you be civil and refrain from personal attacks. Comments posted to these social media platforms do not represent the opinions of South Dakota State University.
The above guidelines are for the publication of and commentary on social media by employees of South Dakota State University. These guidelines are in addition to and complementary to any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, email, website usage and the internet. Employees must continue to follow state policy regarding the use of computers, laptops and other technological equipment, as well as email and internet access.