General Principles

One mission, many voices. Support the university’s mission in your social media and strive for the best. Social media interactions, whether positive or negative, can deeply color audience perception of a company or brand and the viral nature of social media can spread that view far more widely than traditional word of mouth. Broad participation represents the diversity of our University community.


Maintain confidentiality, protect privacy. Utilize social media as you would any other communication channel such as email. Do not share student or patient personal information. Refer to the existing university policies concerning this type of information: HIPAA for patient information and FERPA for student information.


Think before you post. Use good judgment: if you have any doubt, don’t post! Don’t reply to an angry post or tweet with anger in return. Acknowledge the feedback received, just as though you were providing in-person customer service, and address it in a professional and timely manner.


Obey the law. Give credit where credit is due, and ask permission if you reproduce other people’s work. Take the UT Austin Copyright Crash Course to familiarize yourself with copyright.


It’s a conversation, be responsive. People will be more likely to follow and participate if you engage them first. People walk away from one-way conversations quickly and your users want to communicate with you. At times they will try to reach you first through social media so be sure to be there for that; even a late reply is better than none at all.


If you mess up, admit the mistake and correct quickly. Once an update has been made it’s nearly impossible to erase it, so instead of trying to cover it up do responsible damage control.


Your colleagues can help. Confused or lost? Ask others help and input. The PrISM (Professional Interest in Social Media) community at the UT Health Science Center is a resource for learning.


Add value to the discussion. Social media provide you a great opportunity to share useful and interesting content to your community. If you only use social media to promote yourself your followers will become disinterested.


Listen. You have to listen to what people are saying to or about you. Ignoring questions or comment directed to you would be like ignoring email. Participation on social media is a 2-way street.


Maintain a professional presence. Your language and actions should maintain a professional decorum. In many cases you are still representing your institution even if you are using a personal account.