If you publish something on the internet, it's probably out there forever. Putting something out there that is embarrassing, unflattering, or harmful can have major consequences, especially if you are posting in a professional capacity. So being careful in what you publish and having a well-considered strategy in place beforehand is a good idea. Here are some things to consider.
Everything is public
Your best bet is to consider everything you post online to be public, no matter what privacy settings you are offered; networks like Facebook offer the illusion of privacy, but change their settings so often that it's hard to keep them as airtight as you can. In addition, it's always possible for people to circumvent your settings and share your posts regardless of your settings.
Use your common sense
Using your common sense is key. If you wouldn't say it in front of your mother or your supervisor, it's probably not appropriate to put it online. Try and let your personality shine through and let your followers connect to you as a person, but don't end up just posting funny cat videos and pictures of your lunch, you are aiming to promote your research after all.
Leiden University's Social Media Guidelines
Leiden University has drawn up social media guidelines for its staff. While meant for those who clearly identify themselves as part of the university, most of them are good practice for anyone using social media. You can find a top ten of Do's and Don'ts taken from the guidelines below and find the full text linked at the bottom of this post.
10 Do’s and Don’ts for social media networks
- Do not publish any confidential information.
- Think carefully before you share information. Information can still be found a long time afterwards via search engines.
- Do not spread any personal information without the permission of the person in question.
- Be accurate; check your facts.
- Act responsibly in terms of what you post on social media networks.
- Be clear about which information expresses the position of Leiden University and which information originates from your personal vision. Use a disclaimer when you share information from your own personal perspective.
- Respect your target group and audience.
- Only use the Leiden University logo for brand accounts.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis.
- Check the social media guidelines of Leiden University for more information about the use of social media networks.