1. About

1.1. These guidelines cover participation in social media by University of Bath staff.

1.2. Social media is changing the way individuals and organisations communicate and interact. Its use creates new opportunities to engage with audiences who are interested in all aspects of what we do as a University - our research, our programmes of study and our wide range of intellectual, social, sporting and cultural activities.

1.3. We believe it is important for all staff using social media to be aware of how it can help them create and nurture relationships, share information, advance knowledge, raise awareness, build support, participate in important conversations and collaborate on new ideas.

1.4. The guidelines are for use across all forms of social media. They apply whether you are using your own devices or those provided by the University.

1.5. They will evolve as new social networking tools emerge, so please check back regularly to make sure you’re up to date and consider the potential value of new tools and techniques.

1.6. Participation in social media on behalf of the University of Bath is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect.

2. Social Media conduct

2.1. By identifying yourself as a member of staff at the University of Bath or by contributing to a University-owned social media account, you are establishing perceptions about your expertise and about the University.

2.2. Always remember that communication via social media is communication in the public domain. The same standards apply online as apply offline, whether acting in a professional or personal capacity. In social media, the boundaries between professional and personal are often more blurred, so it’s important to be particularly careful.

2.3. If you are providing information which invites responses, stay engaged. Reference others who are writing about the same topic and allow your content to be shared.

2.4. Do check the accuracy and sensitivity of what you are posting before pressing submit, just as you would with any other form of communication. Consider asking a colleague to review your content.

2.5. Always consider issues of organisational and individual confidentiality, commercial sensitivity and respect for intellectual property rights.

2.6. Make sure you have permission before using someone else’s images or written content.

2.7. Always follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites.

2.8. You have a responsibility for what you say. Do remember that once something is posted online it is very difficult to remove.

2.9. If in doubt, don’t post. If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and quick with your correction.

2.10. When speaking in a personal capacity using a personal account which associates you with the University, use a disclaimer such as: ‘the views expressed here are my own and in no way reflect the views of the University of Bath.’

2.11. Failure to abide by these guidelines could put your participation in social media on behalf of the University at risk.

3. Management of University-owned social media accounts

3.1. The University has established a number of social media accounts and channels to communicate and interact with a wide range of different audiences. For the purposes of this policy, these channels are defined as University-owned social accounts. The list of existing accounts is maintained by the Department of Marketing and Communications.

3.2. Staff who identify a need to establish a new University-owned social media account for the purposes of communication-related to the University and its activities must contact the Department of Marketing and Communications before setting up a new social media account. Read our guidance on setting up a new social media account.

4. Personal use of social media accounts

4.1. The University values conversations staff have about their work and encourages the personal use of social media to discuss University business in line with this Policy. Any individual is able to set up personal social media accounts.

5. Applicable University policies

5.1. All use of social media accounts must adhere to University of Bath policies, which are applicable to all staff and in particular the IT Acceptable Use Policy and the University’s Dignity and Respect Policy.

6. Need help?

6.1. If you have any questions, queries or concerns about this policy please contact the Department of Marketing & Communications: web-support@bath.ac.uk