General Guidelines

These general guidelines apply only to those who are using social media on behalf of Whittier College. (For guidelines about personal use of social media, please refer to the ‘Social Media and Social Networking’ section of the Whittier College Employee Handbook — a Human Resources document.)

We encourage you to use social media to engage with the public and members of our campus community. Remember, your online conduct reflects on the College and its brand.

When engaging in social communication on behalf of Whittier College:

Be transparent. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing online, point it out.

Share your opinion. What you say online as a representative of the College will be perceived as being the position of the College. Unless you're an authorized College spokesperson, make it clear that the views expressed are your own.

Foster conversation. You and your readers are real people, so talk to them that way. Use an authentic voice, and feel free to express your personality. Don't lecture or broadcast repeated promotional messages; instead, encourage conversation with open-ended content that invites readers to respond.

Add value. If you want people to read your content, write about things that your audience will value. Your social communication doesn't have to be all about Whittier College all the time. Remember: the College is here to create, share and apply knowledge. Use social media to provide unique, informed perspectives on non-Whittier topics that are relevant to your audience.

Create a buzz. Provide fresh, relevant, and valuable content — articles, links, photos, videos, and events. Actively listen to the conversation and contribute to the dialogue.

Share the Whittier College network. Follow other Whittier College social media accounts, and when you find interesting posts, repost or retweet them for your audience, including your own personal comments whenever possible.

Be civil. Whittier College values discourse. There is room for disagreement, but when you do disagree, always respond respectfully. Personal attacks, taunts, name-calling, and threats have no place in civil discussion.

Stay on topic. Stick to your area of expertise and write what you know. Posts should be meaningful, honest, and respectful — meaning no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.

Respect others' responses. Don't delete comments because they're critical of you or the College. (Do, however, remove comments that include discrimination or hate speech, are libelous, are spam, or contain confidential or protected information.). If a comment contains a factual error, respond to it calmly and, whenever possible, link to a source for the correct information. Sometimes a complaint can be the beginning of a valuable conversation. Sometimes it simply fulfills a user's need to have his or her opinion heard.

Review your posts. Check for errors before you submit, and try to use standard punctuation, spelling, grammar, and capitalization.

Honor differences. Whittier College will not tolerate discrimination, including discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, genetic background, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability, or marital status.

Be timely. Social media doesn't sleep, and readers may be responding while you are off the clock. You (or your department/office/team) are responsible for monitoring your social accounts regularly, including weekends and holidays. Respond quickly when a response is called for.

Be patient. Don’t let numbers dissuade you. Most social media accounts don’t immediately become successful or popular. It takes patience.

Take responsibility. If you wouldn’t put it on a flyer, carve it into cement in the quad, or want it published on the front of the Wall Street Journal, don’t broadcast it via your social media channels. If you make a mistake, disclose it, and be prompt in issuing a correction. If you modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so.

Protect yourself and Whittier College. You are personally responsible for what you publish, so consider the content carefully. What you publish is widely accessible and long lasting. Use common sense, and when in doubt, don't publish.

Understand accountability. Whittier Colleges reserves the right to: 1) request the deletion of posts that it deems slanderous, obscene, soliciting, threatening, or in conflict with the College’s social media policies and guidelines; 2) ask departments, offices, centers, and athletic teams to remove Whittier College from its name; 3) request the deletion of an account if it has not been active in the excess of one semester (four months); and 4) request the deletion of an account if social media guidelines are violated.

When in doubt, consult the Office of Communications. If you have any doubt about posting content on your social media sites, please consult the Office of Communications at socialmedia@whittier.edu.