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Policies & Guidelines / Civil Rights - Social Media Guidelines/Best Practices

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University of Maine Cooperative Extension is adhering with our national and state partners social media guidelines and best practices. We recommend ALL staff working with social media follow these guidelines below.

State: University of Maine Department of Marketing and Communications Policies and Procedures:

National 4-H Social Media Guidelines (http://www.4-h.org/social-community-guidelines/; also see 4-H Social Media Best Practices Guide (PDF))

  • Monitor each of your online environments daily to make sure postings and discussions are appropriate in nature
  • Responds occasionally, and directs a participant’s questions or concerns to the appropriate party.
  • Users in these communities should comply with age requirements regulated by the sites. Most sites require parental permission if under age 13.

We reserve the right to remove content if deemed inappropriate due to inclusion of any of the following:

  • Language, images or video that is determined to be profane, obscene, vulgar or lewd
  • Derogatory or discriminatory language (including comments about sex, age, race, sexual orientation or religious affiliation)
  • Spam posted regarding the same content matter, links, video, or any other media
  • Use of specific names of individuals, clubs or identifiable names with language that defames, abuses, or threatens
  • Any advertisement for products or services or solicitation of funds exceeding more than one post per week

eXtension Social Media Guidelines (http://about.extension.org/wiki/eXtension_Social_Media_Guidelines)

For staff creating and utilizing social media (social networking sites, wikis, blogs, etc.):

  • Only current UMaine Extension employees may set up and maintain official University of Maine Cooperative Extension web pages and online groups created with social media. Volunteers, club members, retirees, alumnus, students — either individually or as part of a committee — are welcome to participate in online groups created and maintained by UMaine Extension staff. They are also welcome to suggest content for web pages/online groups that are maintained by staff. However, to help protect UMaine Extension and its employees from potential lawsuits, UMaine Extension will not provide support to nonemployees who want to create or maintain social media sites and online groups for Extension.
  • Most social media has embedded branding (FaceBook pages/groups contain FaceBook’s branding; Twitter pages use Twitter’s branding), but most also allow for some customization. Follow UMaine Extension’s Branding Guide when adding UMaine Extension’s logo, name, UM colors, etc. to pages/groups.
  • As a University of Maine Cooperative Extension employee, you can best represent the organization by adhering to the UMaine Extension Web Standards when using social media:

Primary partner/funder

In many instances University of Maine Cooperative Extension is a partner institution in its education and outreach efforts. If University of Maine Cooperative Extension is a primary and/or equal primary funder staff must follow social media guidelines above.

If University of Maine Cooperative Extension are the lesser partner/funder yet your program is still involved in social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, please take active role in monitoring site and being involved in this effort. We are still a partner.

All Extension Web pages/online groups must have an Identified Content Owner who is a current Extension employee (not a volunteer, retiree or student worker) who is responsible for

  1. Including the following items on the pages:
  2. Assuring that pages/groups are in alignment with Extension’s mission and support a Plan of Work.
  3. Enhancing the image and educational capacity of Extension through the pages’/groups’ appearance and content.
  4. Managing content/discussion/comments to ensure that content is accurate and credible, and to identify and remove possible instances of copyright infringement, libel, and invasion of privacy. The Identified Content Owner is also responsible for excluding religious messages, political opinions, sexually explicit images or text, and language that expresses gender, ethnic, or racial bias, or bias towards persons with disabilities; as well as material that implicitly or explicitly promotes the use or sale of alcohol and tobacco, and material that appears to endorse commercial products or companies. Umaine Extension web and social media content is subject to University of Maine policies regarding harassment and discrimination (Harassment and Violence Policy; Equal Opportunity Policy).
  5. Obtaining signed General (Photo, etc.) Release Form from person(s) pictured in photographs used on page(s)/in groups.)1,2
  6. Obtaining written permission to use copyrighted materials, including images and text from e-mail or other websites (including other Extension sites). See our “Copyright-Safe” Checklist and Permission Requests Form Letter.
  7. Crediting external sources of materials used on page(s), if permissions have been obtained.
  8. Including a disclaimer statement when products, businesses, or trade names are used on page(s)/in groups or when page(s)/groups contain links to sites/groups other than a UMaine site.
  9. Including the non-discrimination statement when advertising programs and workshops.

1Use caution when posting photos of children under the age of 18 on web pages/in online groups, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SIGNED RELEASE FORM FROM THE CHILD’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN AND THE PAGE(S)/GROUP IS PASSWORD PROTECTED. Do not use pictures that could identify the names or locations of children, i.e., children wearing name tags or standing in front of their homes, schools, well-known landmarks, or places with obvious signs posted nearby. Don’t include captions beneath your photos that include the child’s last name, home address, or any address that locates the child. This simple practice will help ensure the safety of children who participate in our programs by protecting their anonymity.

2Use of Photographs of People, Section A.1.9, UMaine Extension 4-H Policies, Procedure and Guidelines

Individual program areas may have additional best practices that are relevant to their specific programs and audiences.

See Section 4.11 of the Policies and Procedures Manual for detailed information about Corporate Sponsorship Policy and Linking to External Websites.


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