Social Media Policy

Definition

Social media can be defined as media based on the use of web and mobile technologies that allow for user-generated exchanges of information. Social media is a powerful communication tool, enabling collaboration and communication as an interactive dialogue, and enhancing the value of conversations across a global audience.

Social media includes but is not limited to social networking sites; collaborative projects such as wikis, blogs and microblogs; content communities; virtual game worlds; and virtual communities.

Institutional Social Media

Institutional Social Media includes various sites, projects and virtual communities that are created specifically on behalf of MCC, its locations and agents, and that exist to serve as official MCC communications. Creation and use of social media sites on behalf of MCC and its member institutions is for business use only, such as for educational, research, service, operational, marketing and management purposes. Likewise, data, voice, images, videos and links posted or transmitted via MCC's technology resources are limited to the same purposes.

Authorization to create and administer social media sites on behalf of MCC must be coordinated through and approved by the college's Marketing Communications department. Marketing Communications is the official keeper of the MCC brand and must ensure that all MCC social media sites are branded and voiced correctly.

On June 3, 2016, Governor Baker signed "An Act to Improve Public Records" into law. The provisions in the new law took effect on January 1, 2017. The complete text of the new law can be found at: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter121

The Massachusetts Public Records Law (M.G.L Chapter 66 & Chapter 4, Section 7 (26)) provides that every person has the right to access public information. If a public records request is made, MCC has the responsibility to disclose the information, except in a few specific instances. All information stored or transmitted via social media must follow records management, retention and maintenance practices. An MCC college email address ending in ".edu" must be used for communications to and from social media sites.

Official Hashtags

The College uses a variety of hashtags on social media, but the following hashtags are the most frequently used:

  • #MCCpath
  • #MCCgram (Instagram only)
  • #MCC50 (50th Anniversary)

All hashtags used on approved MCC social media accounts must be first vetted and approved by the Office of Marketing Communications.

Employee Guidance for Participating in Social Networking

Employees should remember that students and the community might judge them and MCC by their posts. Employees should be honest and transparent about their identity and role at MCC. Maintain accuracy by verifying facts before posting information via social media. Exercise restraint and show respect for the opinions of others. Do not use MCC-related social media to promote services, products or organizations that are unrelated to MCC or its business. MCC public officials, employees and Governing Board members should use good judgment in connecting with others via social media sites.

Employees will keep their personal social media sites separate from MCC social media. In personal posts, employees may identify themselves as an MCC faculty or staff member. MCC telephone numbers, email addresses and images are not to be posted by employees on personal social media sites. Employees need to be clear that they are sharing their views as a member of the higher education community, not as a formal representative of MCC or its member institutions.

Student Guidance for Participating in Social Networking

Middlesex Community College's social media provides a convenient place where current and prospective students, alumni and the community can easily connect and learn about topics related to Middlesex.

We want you to participate in MCC social media while abiding by our MCC Social Media Code of Conduct:

  • Be respectful.
  • Be honest.
  • Respect copyright and fair use.
  • Unsolicited or unauthorized advertising (including advertising of non-MCC services or products), promotional materials are not permitted.
  • Derogatory comments, including racially or sexually motivated, and sexually explicit materials are not permitted.
  • By submitting content to any Middlesex Community College social media sites, users understand and acknowledge that this information is available to the public and that the college may choose to use this information for internal and external promotional purposes.

Please note that other participants may use posted information beyond the control of Middlesex Community College. Users who do not wish to have the information they have made available via these sites used, published, copied and/or reprinted, should not post on the college's social media sites.

Middlesex Community College has the right to remove any content for any reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems threatening; profane; obscene; derogatory; a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws; off-topic; promotion of organizations, programs, services or products not related to the college; or otherwise misleading, damaging or illegal. Users are fully responsible for the content they publish on any of Middlesex Community College's social media sites.

If content is deemed threatening; profane; obscene; derogatory; a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws; off-topic; promotion of organizations, programs, services or products not related to the college; or otherwise misleading, damaging or illegal – it will be removed from the thread. If an individual violates a policy more than once the college reserves the right to remove the poster from all official MCC Social Media sites.

If the posting is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct the matter will be referred to the Dean of Students office.

Inappropriate Content

The malicious use of MCC social media, including derogatory language about any member of the MCC community; threats to any third party; incriminating photos or statements depicting hazing, sexual harassment, vandalism, stalking, underage drinking, illegal drug use; or any other inappropriate behavior, will be subject to disciplinary action.

Employees should be advised against perpetuating negative media from official MCC social media sites or damaging the MCC brands in any way. This type of negative social media engagement from official MCC sites can result in loss of privileges to use social media in any official capacity.

The following list includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate content posting to social media sites:

  1. Conducting MCC business using social media sites that are not authorized as an official means of communication per marketing standards and processes.
  2. Posting confidential or proprietary information about students, alumni and employees that is in violation of MCC policies, HIPAA or FERPA.
  3. Violating any provision of the Student Code of Conduct.
  4. Posting comments to MCC authorized social media sites that are not directly related to MCC business or accomplishing work-related goals.
  5. Violating MCC's Sexual Harassment policy.
  6. Violating MCC's Drug and Alcohol policy.
  7. SPAM comments. All platforms that enable comments should be reviewed regularly for SPAM, removing SPAM comments as quickly as possible.
  8. Violating the terms of use, conditions or community guidelines as defined by each social media platform.

MCC Identity

Use of any MCC's logos, marks or likenesses on personal social media sites is forbidden. Social media sites established for conducting MCC business must have an official college logo visible and adhere to established graphic standards.

Account Approval

Anyone who wishes to create a social media account for a college-affiliated group, department, program, club, organization, etc. must first meet with the Director of Marketing Communications along with the Social Media Coordinator/Writer to review administrative requirements and obtain official approval. It is preferred that the Marketing Communications department set up the initial account to help maintain MCC ownership of the account and provide proper branding. A marketing request form must be submitted.

Approved Administrators

An MCC employee must be the official administrator for any college-affiliated social media account. It is required that the Director of Marketing Communication and Social Media Coordinator/Writer are both added as full administrators (or given the up-to-date username and password) to all college-affiliated social media accounts before the account is published. However, the day-to-day maintenance responsibilities will belong to the affiliated department, group, etc. This is a precautionary measure to make sure that:

  • MCC is never locked out of an account
  • Should there be a problem, the Marketing Communications department can quickly react and assist (such as the termination of a social media administrator)

Social media account administrators must keep the Marketing Communications department up-to-date with the names and contact information of the administrator of the account at all times and notify them of any personnel changes that might affect this.

Content & Time Commitment

Administering a social media account is time-consuming and the content you post should be of high quality and strategic to your goals. Before embarking on setting up a specific account, the Director of Marketing Communication and Social Media Coordinator/Writer will brief you on the amount of time required for your desired account and the frequency of which you should be posting content. At the time of this revision, best practices recommend the following:

  • Facebook: 5 times/week
  • Twitter: 2–3 times/day
  • Instagram: 5 times/week (and/or use stories to post multiple things in one day)

A stale or outdated account can be more damaging to the image of an entity than not having an account at all.

Photography on MCC Social Media Sites

MCC has a blanket photo release policy which states, "Middlesex Community College, a nonprofit Massachusetts Community College, reserves the right to take and use photographs, video and electronic images of students and visitors taken on college property and at college-sponsored events for marketing and promotional purposes."

While this simplifies record keeping and allows for more photographic flexibility, certain instances still require a signed Media Release Form. These situations include, but are not limited to, students under 18 years of age (Media Release Form must be signed by parent/guardian), and subjects used in a high-visibility location of a marketing piece (front covers, brochures, banners, billboards, etc.).

Any photo that is accessed via an internet search or copied from another source is strictly prohibited to avoid copyright infringement.

If in doubt, please get a signed Media Release Form.

Accessibility

Every approved MCC social media site must follow the Office of Civil Rights guidelines for making all content accessible to everyone. This includes appropriately adding alternative text (alt-text) to all photos used in posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This also includes making every effort to only link to accessible PDFs and websites. Prior to becoming an official administrator of an account, employees must complete a social media ADA Compliance seminar through the Professional Development department.

Due to the Office of Civil Rights guidelines, all videos uploaded to YouTube must have complete subtitles and an audio description. MCC currently has an agreement with an external company to provide subtitles and audio descriptions to videos uploaded to the official Middlesex Community College YouTube account. Because of this, all videos that live on the college's website or are shared on social media must be uploaded to the college's official YouTube account. At this time, no college-affiliated YouTube accounts can be created. Employees interested in publishing directly to the college's YouTube page can work with the Social Media Coordinator/Writer on gaining credentials.

Disclaimer

Every MCC approved social media site must display or link to the following disclaimer in a conspicuous manner:

Although the authors of MCC Social Media have made every reasonable effort to be factually accurate, no responsibility is assumed for editorial or clerical errors or error occasioned by honest mistake. All information contained on this website is subject to change by the appropriate officials of Middlesex Community College, without prior notice. Material on MCC Social Media does not serve as a contract between Middlesex Community College and any other part

 

Revised 2/24/2021.

Last Modified: 3/10/21