Standards and Guides

Social Media and Networking Etiquette

Social media and networking has changed the way we communicate — both as an institution and as individuals. With tools such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Flickr, anyone with an Internet connection now has the ability to create a dynamic website presence, update it from wherever they are whenever they want, and share their content instantly with friends and followers around the world.

Social media and networking has given NSU the opportunity to engage in ongoing “conversations” with our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, colleagues, fans and friends about what is most important to them, extending the community found on the NSU campuses to the world.

Students should refer to the Student Organization Handbook regarding student social media guidelines which can be found on the Student Affairs' website.

Social media and networking refers to online tools and services that allow any Internet user to create and publish content. Many of these sites use personal profiles where users post information about themselves. The “social” in social media and networking comes in as these individuals find others with similar interests and interact with them through online communities, sharing information and knowledge, offering support and networking. Social media and networking also allows for the easy sharing and re-purposing of existing content, expanding the reach of your work and enabling others to share it with their friends and networks. 


NSU Policies

Read the policies below before engaging in any social media and networking campaign as part of your official duty(ies) at NSU. These policies are also beneficial for personal use of social media and networking sites. Remember, it is just as important to read the terms and conditions of the social media and networking site(s) as well.


Principles for Engagement

NSU wants to help all university staff, faculty, students, as well as our website visitors, engage in social media, blogs, social networks and the online community. The university offers these best practices guidelines for engaging in social media and networking.

Respect and Ethics: At NSU we encourage different viewpoints and opinions, and as a participant in social media and networking, you should, too. Be respectful of others’ viewpoints. If you disagree and would like to engage in a conversation, do so cordially, logically and ethically. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “private” social media and networking website. What you write from your home computer may follow you to school or work.

Accuracy and Honesty: Write about your areas of expertise, research or study at NSU. If, for example, you are writing about a topic related to the university, or research conducted at the university, please check the facts before you post. If there is a website you used to gather facts, provide the link for your readers to show accountability. If you make a mistake, admit it. Your followers will be more willing to forgive and forget if you are up front and quick with your correction. Maintain a high level of quality that exhibits superior grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Value and Interest: When posting to social media and networking sites, ask yourself if your content adds value and interest to the discussion. Make sure your comment or post is a valued piece of information. If your insight helps people improve knowledge or skills, discover something interesting, solve problems, or better understand NSU, more than likely you are adding value. There are millions of people, companies and universities on the Internet. If you want to stand above the clutter, make sure you provide content that is exciting, engaging and stimulating.

Personality: In the social media and networking realm, you are encouraged to use your own voice and bring your personality to the forefront. The Web is a venue that is relaxed, open and diverse. A voice that is over-institutionalized and rehearsed can repel your audience. Make sure your site is not a place for self-promotion.

Terms and Conditions: Remember to read the terms and conditions you agree to when creating a social media and networking account. Violations of social media terms and conditions can result in a termination of your account as well as removal from the NSU Social Media and Networking Directory.

Transparency and Disclosure: When communicating using social media and networking or blogs for social media purpose(s) on behalf of NSU, or in your role as a university staff or faculty member, make sure you clearly identify yourself and your affiliation with the university. Being open about your ties to the university will illustrate credibility and transparency. When writing for personal blogs or social networking sites, make sure you disclose your affiliation with the university if you discuss university-related topics. This will enhance credibility with your readers.

Accept and Monitor Comments: A social media and networking site without comments isn’t very social. Be prepared to accept and respond to comments. To protect your site, moderate all comments before posting. Understand that not all comments will be positive, and respond to negative comments professionally and by providing any additional information that may help resolve the issue. It may be helpful to post a disclaimer on your site stating you reserve the right to remove inappropriate comments. It is good practice to remove those comments containing vulgar language, those that attack any one group or individual and those that are obviously spam.

Separate Personal from Professional: Balancing your professional and personal social media and networking presences can be tricky, particularly if you are an avid user in both arenas. Content that is appropriate and of interest to your personal friends may not be appropriate or of interest to your colleagues. Keep these two presences as separate as possible by keeping content about your non-work life on your personal page. If the social media and networking site allow you, set up separate accounts for your professional activities and for your personal and family interactions. It may be helpful to review the privacy and/or security settings, as most sites have options available.

Join Forces: We need your help to make the university’s social media directory as comprehensive as possible. If you are already involved in social media and networking and would like to advertise your NSU social media and networking presence, consider registering your efforts with the Communications and Marketing department.

Note: The NSU Social Websites Directory is reserved for affiliated offices, colleges, departments, organizations or events. Personal or unaffiliated NSU websites will not be included.