Social media guidance

Staff and students should be able to enjoy the benefits of social networking whilst understanding the standards of conduct expected by the University.

General advice

  • Staff and students should apply the same standards of conduct online as they are expected to apply offline.
  • Staff should be familiar with privacy settings of social networking platforms and should ensure that these are appropriate for both content and intended audience.
  • Social networking platforms are in the public domain and it is not always possible to be sure what is being viewed, shared or archived, even if material is posted on a closed profile or group. There can be no reasonable expectation that posts will remain private and will not be passed on to other people, intentionally or otherwise. Material published online may have the potential to be available publicly, indefinitely.
  • Students and staff are responsible for their words and actions in an online environment and are therefore advised to consider whether any comment, photograph or video they are about to post on a social networking site is something they would want fellow students, colleagues and other employees of the University, their manager or people outside the University to see.
  • Inappropriate behaviour via social media may constitute harassment and bullying and can be reported to the University Dignity and Respect Advisors.
  • The University recognises that members of staff may occasionally wish to use social media for personal use at their place of work, by means of the University’s computers, networks and other IT resources and communications systems. Such incidental and occasional use of these systems is permitted, provided that: it is not excessive, does not disrupt, distract or is intrusive to the conduct of University business and/or work colleagues (for example, due to volume, frequency or cost), such communications do not bring the University into disrepute.
  • Where appropriate, in accordance with the IT regulations and where the law permits, the University reserves the right to monitor use of social media platforms and take appropriate action to protect against any misuse that may be harmful to the University.
  • Staff or students should not engage in illegal activity through social media or engage in any activity that promotes terrorism.  The very fact of possessing or disseminating terrorist material may be sufficient to warrant an investigation by the police and a member of staff or student would be put in the position of having to advance a credible defence.  Further information can be found in the Code of Conduct for downloading materials relating to Terrorism (see IT regulations below).
  • When disagreeing with others’ opinions, remain appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it may be becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly; ask the Social Media Manager, Communications and Marketing for advice and/or disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on the University.
  • If you want to write about competitor institutions, make sure you behave diplomatically, have the facts straight and that you have the appropriate permissions.
  • Never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation or any parties the University may be in dispute with.
  • Apologise quickly and honestly for any mistakes you make and learn from them for future social media activity.
  • Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and the University’s confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.

Further guidance available

Further guidance for managers and employees can be found at:

Speak to the Social Media Manager, Communication and Marketing for specific advice and guidance.