Use of the internet and social media can provide engaging and rewarding ways to connect with family, coworkers, and friends around the world. The rapid growth and pervasiveness of digital technologies combined with ease of use make them attractive channels of communication.

However, for entities such as colleges and universities with a variety of departmental and program related accounts, it is critical to differentiate between personal voice and institutional voice in employee posts and to be mindful of the way all content reflects the institution.

Limestone University has adopted the following policies to help employees engage online in respectful, relevant ways that protect both the University and its employees, and that follow the letter and spirit of the law. The same professional expectations for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media, and other college constituents apply online just as they do in the workplace. Employees are accountable for their posts to social media sites, regardless of whether they intend to speak on behalf of the University.

This policy sets forth the University’s expectations regarding employee use of the internet and social media for the official business of Limestone University, regarding the University, its schools, departments, offices, and Limestone alumni, students, faculty, and staff. For purposes of this policy, "social media" includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, whether associated or affiliated with Limestone University, as well as any other form of electronic communication. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Disciplinary actions for faculty are administered in accordance with the policies contained in the Faculty Handbook.


Personal Use During Work Hours

Personal use of social media should not conflict with work responsibilities, and thus employees should refrain from using social media and internet for personal purposes during working time (the time an employee is expected to be working, which does not include rest, meal, and other authorized breaks). Use that interferes with employee performance or that is done during working time is prohibited. Employees may use social media for business purposes during their work hours. Please refer to the University Acceptable Use Policy in the Employee Handbook as further reference.

Think (and Pause) Before Posting

Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Be aware that posts are or easily can be made available by forwarding or copying to the public at large, including prospective students, current students, your supervisor, colleagues, and your peers. Additionally, search engines can display posts years after they are created (and even deleted). Consider the impact your post may have on members of the Limestone University constituent groups, and how it may reflect on you before publishing. Remember that the University’s policies related to workplace behavior and comments are equally applicable to an employee's behavior online. Comments that are discriminatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, malicious, or threatening in nature are unacceptable, even if the comments are personal and unrelated to Limestone business. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, you can always ask your supervisor for guidance or contact the Office of Communications.

Share Content Effectively

Maximizing positive visibility for Limestone University on the internet and social media is integral to the University’s marketing efforts. Employees are encouraged to share Limestone’s news and events that are a matter of public record with their family and friends, and to engage with Limestone University social media channels by liking, commenting, and sharing. Linking straight to the information source or sharing directly from official Limestone University channels are the most effective ways to share news and direct users back to the limestone.edu website. This also allows Limestone to track the reach of posts made to official Limestone channels.

Maintain Confidentiality

Use good ethical judgment and follow the Limestone’s policies and federal requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), when posting online content. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Limestone University, its students, its alumni, or your fellow employees. "Confidential or proprietary information" means (1) competitively sensitive information, (2) of importance to Limestone, (3) that is kept in confidence by Limestone, (4) that became known to Employee through his or her employment with Limestone."

Respect Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights

When posting, comply with all copyright and intellectual property right laws. Be mindful of the copyrights and intellectual property rights of others and of the University.

Be Accurate

Verify that information is correct before posting it on social media. Review for grammatical and spelling errors, and make sure you have appropriate permissions if writing about or sharing images of people or organizations. This is especially important if you are posting on behalf of the University.

Seek Guidance for News Media Interaction

Social media content may generate interest from the news media (print, television, radio, online). If you are contacted by the media about a university-related posting and the media is seeking information or a statement on behalf of the University, contact the media relations director in the Office of Communications immediately for guidance before responding.

Maintain Transparency

The line between professional and personal business is sometimes blurred, which is inherent to the nature of social media. The best approach is to be thoughtful about your content and potential audiences. Be clear about your identity. In personal posts, you may identify yourself as a Limestone faculty or staff member. However, please be clear that you are sharing your views as an individual, not as a representative of Limestone University. If you identify yourself as a member of the Limestone community, ensure your profile and related content are consistent with how you wish to present yourself to colleagues, just as you would in any other public arena. Never post information or content expressly or impliedly on behalf of the University without the express permission to do so from the media relations director in the Office of Communications.

Be Thoughtful in Making Social Media Connections

Be thoughtful in your decision to "friend," "like," "follow," or "connect," or before accepting such requests. It is important to recognize that there is the potential for misinterpretation of relationships such as faculty-student, supervisor-subordinate, and staff-student in social interactions. If you are in doubt, please contact Human Resources.

Follow Terms of Service

Obey the Terms of Service of any social media platform you use.

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