University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Our Facebook is managed by a work study in the web department. We want the postings to be fresh and honest from a student perspective. One of our alumni was concerned about what he considers to be a personal posting other than stating simple facts by our monerator. He dosen't believe personal statements are beneficial. You/we can't control what people say on social networks. Doesn't that defeat the purpose? Once we start trying to censor it will open the flood gates to even more negative postings. If any of you have information to the contrary I would like to hear it. I'm open to hearing other perspectives on my understanding of Facebook and other social media.

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I went to look at your university's page and I wonder if you were referencing the world series comment. My personal opinion is that when you post as the university, you have should be EXTREMELY cautious in making polarizing statements. You can't always avoid offending people, but in that case your student worker was looking to ruffle feathers. Reasonable/rational or not, going after a sports team that has no association with your school probably isn't wise- as you can see from the backlash in the comments.

My opinion that I operate our social media out of is that some places are expected places to air personal opinions- like blogs- but when you speak on behalf of the university (as FB administrators do by default), then it's wise to avoid unnecessary polarizing topics.
Yes, I am referring to the World Series comments. How tight should we be pulling the reigns in? How do you balance freedom of speech while still allowing for that fresh student perspective?
Ann's got it.

I might add that freedom of speech doesn't enter into it. That's a constitutional freedom unrelated to this question.

What you're dealing with here is context of speech.

The EDU facebook page has a context. That context is that of a neutral institution that's using facebook expressing some genuine personality and facilitating a community.

The reason why the baseball comment stands out is that it's a personal statement of opinion regarding something that someone out there could take seriously.

The institution wouldn't say the same thing about your own sports team, why say it about someone else's.
I agree, this isn't about free speech as much as it is about the university appearing to take a position on an issue. Comments like that should be posted on students' personal accounts. Actually, I don't think students should even be managing the official University account - that's very risky. Universities have huge audiences all over the spectrum, and any official communication (which these kinds of account fall under) should always try to encourage pride and a positive image.

There's definitely a place for authentic student perspectives, but it should be very clear when something is written by a student, alum, or anyone other than an employee that can officially speak for the institution. Social media accounts make it very hard to be clear who is doing the talking behind a logo and the name of the university.

On my school's official FB account, even though we don't really have a plan on how to use it yet, I try very hard to post messages that the majority of our followers would enjoy and find value in so that they won't consider it spam and hide future updates on their news feed. It's definitely a challenge.
I agree with Ann and Charlie. Context here is key. And I do think that under the correct supervision, student workers or student ambassadors can effectively admin social media pages.
I read through the thread and there were two responses that I believe show that the post should not have been posted. "A Pennsylvania school should really be cheering for the Philadelphia team." and "So what happened to the Pennsylvania pride from a Pennsylvania school, who ever put the post up should realize that we root for the Phils, Flyers, Eagles , 76rs, Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers."

If your school is known for a large amount of Yankees fans in attendance, then there is some ok in the post.

Also, I'm interested in knowing if it is known to the Fans on your page that it is run by a student? If that is widely known the community might have reacted differently. But it looks like the community all believed it was a view point of the university. The poster went further to give a email to be contacted at that reflects upon the university. I did like the apology, but I was turned off when I saw they did not post an email where they could get a person with a name instead of "socialmedia"

The Fan page is an extension of the university's brand. It must represent the views of the university.
I want to thank everyone for their input. We had a meeting this morning about this an we agree with your views. The student realized his mistake, which is why he apologized. He has been spoken to and now understands who he represents and it won't happen again.

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