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NIU implements social media policy, guidelines

September 8, 2011

Screen capture of NIU's SMASHUP homepageSpend time on NIU Facebook sites?  Tweet for your college or department?

NIU now has an official social media policy.

The policy was created to provide all students, faculty and staff with guidelines to preserve the integrity of the university’s social media platforms. Holly Nicholson, NIU’s social media specialist, said implementing the policy was necessary to protect the university as well as its students and employees.

Social media has proven to be a powerful means of communicating to large audiences,” Nicholson said. “Our platforms are easily accessible, so we want to protect not only the institutional voice of the university, but the reputation of our faculty and staff as well.”

NIU has embraced multiple social media sites, utilizing the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare as means of keeping prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty and staff informed and engaged in the NIU community.

“Colleges, divisions and departments are encouraged to participate in social media,” Nicholson said. “The guidelines and policies are intended to effectively assist faculty and staff inform audiences on social media sites about what’s happening around NIU.”

Thorough research of effective social media policies from universities such as Ball State, DePaul, Colorado State and Washington State were considered during the drafting of NIU’s policy, which was vetted over the summer through each division and college before being approved Aug. 15 by President John G. Peters.

“It was written specifically for the NIU community and our unique social media goals,” Nicholson said. “The NIU experience will be effectively communicated if everyone works together, so it’s important that institutional social media initiatives promote the mission of our great university.”