Personal Account Tips

PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Tips and best practices when referencing UC ANR

For guidance concerning branded UC ANR social media accounts, refer to “Policies for Branded Accounts

Introduction

Many UC ANR employees and volunteer participants maintain active personal social media accounts on which they often discuss their UC work and promote participation activities. UC ANR encourages community involvement in online forms of communications and can benefit from the promotion of UC ANR on employee and participant accounts. However, social media audiences can become easily confused about whether UC ANR employees and volunteers are speaking for themselves or on behalf of UC ANR when they include references to University of California, UC ANR, or other UC programs (such as 4-H or Master Gardener) in their personal social media profiles and postings. This document is designed to offer general tips, best practices and helpful resources for engaging in meaningful online conversation, while ensuring that UC’s institutional policies are not misrepresented and that statements about UC are appropriately asserted as those of the poster and not the University itself.

Be authentic. Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty - or dishonesty. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue or misleading. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), address it quickly.

Clarify context. Unless you have been authorized by UC ANR Risk and Safety Services, you should not speak on behalf of UC ANR on your personal accounts. Do not portray yourself as a spokesperson, or even an unofficial spokesperson, on issues relating to UC ANR or the University of California. This doesn’t mean you should not identify yourself as an employee of UC ANR, just that you refrain from giving the impression that you are an official spokesperson for the organization. 

Name the account appropriately. Personal social media accounts may not use UC ANR in the name and may not use the UC ANR logo or branding. When engaging in personal social media activities, you may not use your University title in any way that would imply that you are speaking for the University.

Use resources appropriately. Any member of our community can obviously exercise his or her right to engage in personal political activity, but no member of the UC ANR community may use University facilities or resources (including time on the job) for political purposes, except as specifically permitted by University regulations.

Avoid misperception. Care should be taken to avoid creating any misperception of University endorsement of a particular political position. You are free in your private individual capacity to endorse any political candidate or either side of a ballot initiative, but you must avoid any improper inference of University endorsement of a particular position.

Get consent. If you plan to post photos or videos, or other identifying information that is sensitive or person about participants/employees at ANR events or work locations , you are responsible for obtaining appropriate authorization and consent forms from all such persons (including clients, volunteers, employees, faculty, staff, students and visitors). Never share identifying information about children that would enable a stranger to find them, such as their names or school locations, on public pages or posts to public pages without parental consent.

Feel free to support the UC ANR mission. We encourage people to use their personal social media accounts in ways that are supportive of UC ANR and its mission. If you’re interested, here are some ways you can engage from your personal account:

  • "Like" UC ANR-related pages on Facebook
  • List UC ANR pages in your Favorites
  • Follow UC ANR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn
  • Subscribe to UC ANR blogs
  • Rate and comment on UC ANR videos on YouTube
  • "Like" or comment on UC ANR posts in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Retweet UC ANR posts on Twitter
  • See the UC ANR social media directory (link to directory) to find out about and follow other UC ANR accounts

 

DEFINITIONS

Branded accounts – social media accounts operated by UC ANR personnel or volunteers that are branded with the name of the division or its programs (4-H, UC Master Gardener, etc.).

Personal accounts – social media accounts that are set up and managed by individual users and are not officially associated with the University of California name, programs or resources.

Social media - websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. These sites and applications facilitate the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit and blogs, among many others.