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UofL Internal Social Media Policy

by Rushton,Jeff A last modified Apr 28, 2011 10:08 AM

Internal social media policies for faculty, staff and students that are participating in social media for and in behalf of the university.


Social media are powerful communications and marketing tools that may have a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations. Because there is not always a clear distinction between personal voice and institutional voice, The University of Louisville has crafted the following policy to help clarify how best to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations when participating in social media.

Social media from the University of Louisville is intended to supplement, not replace, the channels currently in place for press, news, events, announcements and student communication.

Social media are defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Examples include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace.

Both in professional and institutional roles, employees need to follow the same, if not better, behavioral standards online as they would in life. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media, and other university constituents apply online as in the real world. Employees and student-representatives of the school are personally liable for anything they post to social media sites.


  • Protect confidential and proprietary information: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University of Louisville, students, employees, or alumni. Employees must still follow the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA, PCI-DSS and HIPAA, as well as NCAA regulations. Adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.
  • Respect copyright and fair use: When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the university. For guidance, consult the Copyright Guidelines & Resources. Direct questions about fair use or copyrighted material to the University Libraries email Larry Raymond, call at 852-5099 or visit their office in room 276 of the William F. Ekstrom Library.
  • Don’t use University of Louisville logos for endorsements: Do not use the University of Louisville logo or any other university images or iconography on personal social media sites. Do not use University of Louisville’s name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.
  • Respect university time and property: University computers and time on the job are reserved for university-related business as approved by supervisors and in accordance with the Internet Acceptable Use Policy and User Accounts and Acceptable Use documents.
  • Terms of service: Obey the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed.


This section applies to those posting on behalf of an official university unit, though the guidelines may be helpful for anyone posting on social media in any capacity.

  • Think twice before posting: Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the university. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it at a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your supervisor for input or contact The Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) at 502-852-8119.
  • Strive for accuracy: Get the facts straight before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of the university in any capacity. (See “Institutional social media” below.)
  • Be respectful: Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or the university and its institutional voice.
  • Remember your audience: Be aware that a presence in the social media world is or easily can be made available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employers and colleagues, and peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm, or provoke any of these groups.
  • On personal sites, identify your views as your own. If you identify yourself as a University of Louisville faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution.
  • Photography: Photographs posted on social media sites easily can be appropriated by visitors. Consider adding a watermark and/or posting images at 72 dpi and approximately 800x600 resolution to protect your intellectual property. Images at that size are sufficient for viewing on the Web, but not suitable for printing. Remember that the policies of the University of Louisville Creative Services (including photography) related to purchasing and using their images apply online as well as in print. Contact Creative Services Photography at 502-852-8117 with questions.


If you post on behalf of an official university unit, the following policies must be adhered to in addition to all policies and best practices listed above:

  • Notify the university: Departments or university units that have a social media page or would like to start one should contact the Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) 502-852-8119 or email to ensure all institutional social media sites coordinate with other University of Louisville sites and their content. All institutional pages must have a full-time appointed employee who is identified as being responsible for content and one full-time employee as a backup. We will verify your employment and that you are authorized by the department to run the social media profile. Ideally, this should be the unit head of the department. Both administrator email addresses must be provided to OCM for inclusion in the University Notification and Presidential posting email notices. Administrators may or may not post the notices unless mandated by the President. The purpose of the notices is to ensure that all students, faculty and staff are given the same information from all University outlets. For a list of university approved social media profiles visit:
  • Acknowledge who you are: If you are representing The University of Louisville when posting on a social media platform, acknowledge this.
  • Have a plan: Departments should consider their messages, audiences, and goals, as well as a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date. The Office of Communications and Marketing can assist and advise you with your social media planning.
  • Link back to the university: Whenever possible, link back to the University of Louisville site. Ideally, posts should be very brief; redirecting a visitor to content that resides within the University of Louisville web environment. When linking to a news article about the University of Louisville, check first to see whether you can link to a release on UofL Today ( instead of to a publication or other media outlet.
  • Protect the institutional voice: Posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste. No individual University of Louisville unit should construe its social media site as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post—names, profile images, and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.


  • We expect conversations to follow the rules of polite discourse and we ask that participants treat each other, as well as our employees, with respect. University employees will not post or approve post comments that include:
    • Profanity and vulgar or abusive language
    • Threats of physical or bodily harm
    • Sensitive information (for example, information that could compromise public safety, intellectual property or national security)
    • Offensive terms. For example, that target specific ethnic or racial groups
  • For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic," when you post or approve posts. This means that comments will be posted only as they relate to the topic being discussed/viewed/played/displayed. University employees will not post comments that include:
    • Off-topic comments (If you have off-topic comments that are relevant to the department, organization or group please submit them directly to the group, not on an off-topic public platform, like social media.)
    • Questions from the media (please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing if there is a post by the media which needs to be addressed 502-509-2218)
    • University social media sites should not permit friends, followers or the general public to create new posts. For example, Facebook and blog pages or accounts should not give ‘everyone,’ ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ access to their wall or the ability to post. These opportunities open the University to legal, libel and regulatory concerns that are not necessary and will require the social media account/profile administrators to be constantly vigil about monitoring and declining content that does not meet the standards outlined in these policies.
    • Identical comments by the same user (please don't post or approve comments submitted over and over expecting the post to show up faster) or multiple users (a group of people sending identical messages or one person submitting under different aliases). In the case of identical comments, you should approve the first submission unless you have specifically requested the comment as part of a challenge, contest or promotion.


Social media websites each have their own terms & conditions and/or policies, all UofL employees must adhere to these policies if they choose to use the social media platforms. Not following these policies/terms may lead to the removal of your social media account and may adversely affect or reflect poorly upon other areas of the University. Please keep up to date on your social media platform policies/terms.

External social media terms (this may not be up to date, visit the sites for the most up to date policies/terms).

Please note that your use of these tools is pursuant to the UofL Electronic Records Retention policy.

The Office of Communications and Marketing updates monthly, the information and training material that relates to social media and online. You can find the most up to date information, training course (OCM U) schedule and resources by visiting

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