Westmont students

Westmont College Social Media Policy

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram can be effective tools for engaging the Westmont community and its diverse constituents. Social media can build a sense of community by communicating with Westmont’s key audiences, including prospective students, parents, alumni and benefactors. In order to use these evolving mediums effectively, Westmont has developed a social media policy to serve as a guide for faculty, staff and student-workers operating an official social media account created to represent Westmont.

Westmont is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram. The website Westmont Social features an updated record of all Westmont’s social media websites.

Official Westmont social media accounts include any social media account (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) primarily intended to communicate with external constituents. This includes athletic news, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages primarily meant for recruiting students, pages for communicating with alumni, etc. Student clubs, classroom accounts and internal administrative pages are not considered official Westmont Social Media Accounts.

If you are considering creating or have been asked to start a social media account as part of your job at Westmont, take some time to think through whether this is a necessary avenue, what content will be included on the site, how it will be used, etc. If you would like advice about social media strategy, contact Scott Craig, Westmont manager of media relations at scraig@westmont.edu or x6051. Rather than creating your own site, you find it beneficial to reach more people by working with College Communications to publicize your news and activities on the primary Westmont Facebook site, which has more than 7,000 followers.

If you have been authorized by your supervisor to create an official Westmont College social media site or have already been managing one, please contact Scott Craig in College Communications to apply for official status and to ensure that logos and imagery comply with Westmont brand standards.

By planning ahead and limiting the number of official Westmont social media pages, we hope to avoid an ad-hoc social media presence that is spread too thin or is too compartmentalized. Westmont will promote properly maintained official sites on the Connect with Us social media hub and may repost interesting information.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to share news and events or promote work through social media tools and engage in conversations with the community you build. Social media is an excellent way to share information that is available to the public. The best way to do it is to link to the original source, preferably your academic website or blog.

Official Westmont Social Media Guidelines

  1. Assign an administrator who can regularly monitor postings and content.
  2. Limit postings to no more than three a day but at least twice per week. Inactive or dead pages negatively reflect Westmont’s online presence.
  3. Westmont will enforce a three-strike policy regarding social media maintenance. A social media website will receive one strike for every week without a post. After three strikes, Westmont will no longer promote your page on the Connect with Us social media hub and will take action to remove your page from social media platforms. Providing fresh content is essential to maintaining a social media website.
  4. Provide unique, individual perspectives on Westmont people, activities and news.
  5. Reply to comments in a timely manner when a response is appropriate. When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it civil and polite. In some cases it’s best to refrain from replying to some negative or hostile comments.
  6. Be diligent about ridding your site of spam or extremely derogatory and/or profane comments. Also, regularly monitor your traffic by utilizing analytics (either Facebook’s own analytics or Google analytics) to gauge the success and impact of your social media.
  7. Do not post any information on social media platforms that conflicts with Westmont’s mission: “Westmont College is an undergraduate, residential, Christian, liberal arts community serving God’s kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world.” Uphold Westmont’s mission and values. Always consider whether or not a message via social media is supporting Westmont’s goals, programs and overall brand.
  8. Follow Westmont’s graphic standards. Use simple graphics that represent Westmont and respect brand, trademark, copyright, fair use and confidentiality.
  9. The public will judge Westmont by its posts, so be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint and show respect for the opinions of others. Westmont employees identified as administrators of accounts are responsible for managing and monitoring the content of their officially recognized accounts. Administrators at any time can contact Westmont’s manager of media relations for advice and assistance.
  10. A representative from College Communications will serve as an administrator for every official Westmont social media account. Although College Communications does not intend to actively engage in maintaining these sites, administrator status will allow it to track pages and provide ongoing access and maintenance in case the staff member who created the site leaves or is unavailable for a period of time.
  11. Westmont intends to avoid copyright claims and other liabilities that might arise from the posting of inappropriate or unauthorized content, including pictures, music and video in which a third party claims a copyright or other intellectual property right. This includes nearly all popular music, TV programs and movies.
  12. Be familiar with and abide by the terms of service of any social media platform you are using. Remember that on Facebook, official Westmont pages should be Fan Pages that users “like” rather than “friend.”
  13. Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws, including Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Westmont, its students, alumni, or employees. Never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties that are in litigation or disciplinary matters involving member of the college community.
  14. You may not present your personal opinions as Westmont’s policy or position. Using social media to express political or other personal views is strictly prohibited. You may not use the Westmont name to endorse political candidates (regardless of any connection to Westmont) or promote opinions, products or causes that might conflict with Westmont’s mission and values. Rather than sharing personal opinions about controversial topics or news events, limit your conversations and comments to the work you are doing at Westmont, especially your area of expertise.

General Guidelines for Non-Official Westmont Social Media

While Westmont does not regularly review content posted to social media sites, be aware that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with college employee policies and editorial guidelines.

Westmont’s staff, faculty and students are personally responsible for the content published on blogs, wikis, or any other form of user-generated content. Individuals are subject to disciplinary measures stated in the Westmont Employee and Student Handbooks.

Think before posting. There is no such thing as a private social media site. Search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after publication. Do not post information that may harm Westmont, colleagues or classmates. Avoid posting while feeling emotional about a subject—wait until you are calm and clear headed.

Keep in mind that your parents, siblings, roommates, internship supervisors and future employers will read your blog or social media posts, as well as prospective students, their parents, alumni, professors and college administrators.

Please post meaningful and respectful comments in your area of expertise. That means no spam, self-promotion or remarks that are off-topic or offensive.