Carnegie Mellon University

Social Media Guidelines

As a manager of an official Carnegie Mellon-affiliated social media account, you are speaking on behalf of the university. We ask that you adhere to the following guidelines to ensure the best experience for our audience. These guidelines should be applied to all channels affiliated with Carnegie Mellon.

For questions, comments or concerns, contact Lawerence Synett, director of social media, at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu.


Getting started

Get in Touch

Whether you currently manage an official CMU-affiliated social media account, are considering creating one or your college, department or program, or are a faculty or staff member looking to use social media personally, contact Lawerence Synett, director of social media, at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu. The university social media team can provide advice on appropriate channels and best practices and assist you in getting started, as well as help you leverage your new channel by sharing it among our audiences.

Who You Are

Carnegie Mellon's schools, departments, programs and centers vary in missions, but they're all part of the larger institution — Carnegie Mellon University. When naming your social media page, be sure to include Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Mellon or CMU, as space allows. If the full "Carnegie Mellon University" doesn't fit as the page or account name, be sure to include it in the description area. If you would like to try a new animation, graphic, video filter, etc., refer to our Visual Identity guidelines and Photo & Video best practices. 

If you have any questions, contact the University Communications & Marketing brand manager at 412-268-9523 or marketing-info@andrew.cmu.edu.


Managing a CMU-Affiliated Account

Be #TartanProud if you manage an official Carnegie Mellon University-affiliated social media account, but remember, that comes with a lot of responsibility. The following applies to all employees of CMU who manage an official university-affiliated social media account.

If you’re new to managing an official CMU-affiliated social media account, or if your college, department or unit is considering creating a new account, contact Lawerence Synett, director of social media, at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu.

University Expectations

  • Notify the university before creating a new account or when taking over management of an existing account. Fill out the social media form/application to inform University Communications & Marketing.
  • Staff appropriately. All CMU-affiliated accounts must have at least one staff or faculty member as the designated account manager. Students can be a tremendous help, but they should never be the “owners” of official CMU-affiliated social media accounts or profiles, except in the case of student organizations. Such profiles should be owned and maintained by staff and/or faculty, as appropriate.
  • All official CMU-affiliated social media accounts must be registered to a shared or general email address that can be accessed by more than one person.

University Standards

  • Remember that you’re representing CMU as a whole, not just your college, department or program. All of your posts, comments and actions from the account can affect the reputation of the university, as well as other individuals affiliated with the university.
  • When engaging on social media on CMU’s behalf, do not express political opinions or engage in political activities.
  • Avoid opinionated statements, especially when representing a school, college, department or program. In addition, don’t associate with controversial groups on social media. Take a look at the person’s or organization’s social media history to see whether it’s appropriate to engage.
  • Be thoughtful and sensitive when engaging.Write for your audiences, but know your posts can reach anyone, may be misinterpreted or may show up outside of their original context.
  • Moderate comments judiciously. Comments are an important part of social networking services. Don’t delete comments simply because you disagree with the commenter’s point of view or because the commenter has reacted negatively. Also, monitor social accounts or profiles for which you are responsible and delete comments that expose the private data of others, contain commercial solicitations, are factually erroneous/libelous, are off-topic, are threatening or abusive, or are obscene. If you encounter threatening comments on a post, contact Lawerence Synett, director of social media, at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu.
  • Be respectful of intellectual property rights and follow appropriate laws.
  • Delete dormant accounts that are official CMU-affiliated accounts. 

Best Practices

  • Keep your personal and official CMU-related accounts separate — you don’t want to mix up accounts. 
  • Think of social media as a conversation. Develop content beyond just headlines, links, and hashtags made for the purposes of engaging with your audience.
  • Messages should be tailored for each channel; not all messages belong on all channels.
  • Have fun, but also protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste.
  • Be consistent, strive for accuracy and spread the love when posting.
  • Have a strategy, identify goals and set up the account fully and correctly before beginning to post. Ensure that images used in your profiles are high-resolution and on-brand.

Using SOcial Media Personally

If you use social media on a professional or personal basis, keep in mind that even if you haven't included a reference to CMU in your bios, you may still be recognized as an employee and represent the university.

Remember

  • You’re responsible for what you post on your personal social media accounts.
  • Even when you’re personally engaging on social media, with or without a university affiliation on your profile, you can affect the university as a whole.
  • Don’t use university logos or trademarks without permission.
  • Identify your views as your own.
  • Your political opinions can only be expressed in your individual capacity on your own social media accounts and, even then, avoid the appearance that you’re speaking or acting for the university in political matters.
  • You’re not allowed to create social media accounts that claim, imply or pretend to be official representative sites of the university unless authorized.
  • Protect institutional confidential and proprietary information. Don’t post confidential or proprietary information about the university, its students, employees or alumni.
  • Adhere to copyright and fair use law.
  • Be aware of terms of service — each social media channel has them.
  • Be sure to link to official content to ensure accuracy. It’s important to be accurate when posting on social media.
  • Be respectful — it’s not hard.
  • Use good judgment — if it feels funny, don’t do it.

Other Tips

  • Voice is everything. If you're going to use social media, be active and engage with your colleagues and students, especially those interested in your research and teachings. 
  • Before posting, always ask yourself, “Is social media the best outlet for this?”
  • Share your perspectives, insights and updates. 
  • It's OK to showcase your personality — if you want.
  • Share your accomplishments and the accomplishments of others - especially fellow colleagues and CMU students.
  • Discuss your work, what you’re working on and show us what’s on your mind. 
  • It’s not just text. Take photos (if they don't violate privacy) and share. Make a short video of your walk across campus. Think of unique and creative ways to show your life as a Tartan. 
  • Keep it clean. Share links. Mention the right accounts. Use the correct hashtags.
  • Don’t just post. Follow CMU-related accounts, and interact with them. Tartans should consider interacting with other Tartans to show a strong, unified online presence. Plus, you never know what others' social networks can do for you.
  • If you ever need advice, contact Lawerence Synett, director of social media, at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu.

Official CMU-affiliated social media accounts can be found in the university’s Social Media Directory.

To be included in the directory, accounts must:

  • Represent an official Carnegie Mellon school, college, department or program. Student organizations are not listed there at this time.
  • Meet university branding and social media guidelines.
  • Be active within the last six months.

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