Facebook Policies and Guidelines

Social networking can appear deceptively simple at first glance and offers both opportunities and challenges. The best way to get a sense of how Facebook works most effectively is to spend some time watching it in action before beginning to post. While presenting numerous communications opportunities, use of Facebook and other social networking platforms for College-related activities invariably reflects on the College's image and reputation. With both the opportunities and pitfalls of social networking in mind, the Web Strategy Team and the Office of Communication developed the policies and guidelines below, and these suggestions about creating a Facebook persona and user-friendly URL.

Facebook Persona

Your profile photo will appear as a thumbnail image next to your wall posts. Use an image that represents your department or the College, for example, your home page image, an interesting piece of building architecture, or campus scene. To avoid copyright issues, do not copy an image off the Internet that isn't College owned, or take your own photo. You should also look at other MHC Facebook accounts to make sure you don't choose an image another office or department is using, as you want your persona to be unique.

Create a User-friendly URL

Once you have at least 25 people that "Like" your page, you may create a facebook username. This will become the URL to link to, for example, http://www.facebook.com/mountholyokecollege or http://www.facebook.com/mhcphysics. If your Facebook account isn't setup with a user-friendly name, follow these steps:

  1. Visit http://www.facebook.com/username/
  2. Select your page from the dropdown menu
  3. Select "Check Availability"
  4. Choose a desired username that is keyword friendly, but also user-friendly.
  5. Write to the College Web Team for recommendations or other assistance.

Policies

Administrative offices and academic departments thinking of establishing a Facebook page should seek permission of department and/or division heads and are asked to let the Office of Communications know of the plans to create a Facebook page in connection with College business. The College Web Team can assist in the creation of a Facebook page to maintain consistency of branding, as well as, share important tips. To get started, email the College Web Team.

Guidelines

  1. The Office of Communications has an official College Facebook page. The Office encourages members of the Mount Holyoke community to follow this page and to post information of interest to the community in accord with the procedures listed below. Audiences for this page are members of the on-campus and off-campus communities, including alumnae, prospective students, parents, and others interested in the school.
  2. The Office suggests that academic and administrative departments designate a member of the office or department to maintain familiarity with the site.
    1. It is recommended that you have at least 3 administrators to your account.
      Note: You must first "friend" others with a Facebook account before making them an administrator to the page.
    2. Posters to the site should honor the spirit of social networking by posting information that will be of wide interest and which will prompt response or discussion by members of the wider MHC community. The purpose of social networking is, after all, to build or strengthen community through enabling an exchange of views. Posting event info and other replications of materials which appear--or should appear--on College Web pages and online calendars is discouraged.
  3. With some exceptions, the Office cannot offer support to other College Facebook pages. In fact, the Office of Communications and the Web Strategy team cautions most administrative offices and academic departments about developing Facebook pages because of the resources required. Those thinking of setting up new pages should determine if Facebook is the best way to reach audiences and if resources exist to maintain new sites. By some estimates, the equivalent of one day a week of staff time is necessary to maintain a viable Facebook presence. And, Facebook pages should be checked seven days a week. Undermaintained or abandoned Facebook pages, or those with unaddressed inappropriate postings, are counterproductive--and can even be damaging.
  4. In addition to the standard profile pages, Facebook offers other options. In some cases, setting up a Facebook group, which can be limited to members, may be a more effective vehicle for reaching your goals. More...
    In addition, the Facebook Help Center offers more information about using this technology effectively.
  5. Users are encouraged to follow the guidelines for use posted by Facebook at the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. In addition, employees of the College are encouraged to represent themselves in using this tool as they would conduct themselves in conducting any College-related business. The College Privacy and Security Policies are also a helpful resource.
  6. College related Facebook sites should not be used for commercial purposes without approval from department or division head.
  7. Email questions about these policies to the Office of Communications.

Additional Resources