Digital Media Guidelines
These guidelines are intended for and apply to anyone involved in creating, contributing to or distributing information pertaining to Oklahoma State University via digital media communication channels often times referred to as Social Media platforms. The term digital media refers to any communications facilitated by technology. This can include online channels, phone/app based communications and more.
We strongly encourage the consideration and strategic integration of any digital media platform that can help achieve the objectives of your organization, department or college. These communication platforms are valuable ways to connect with a targeted audience.
In doing so, it is important to remember your efforts are part of Oklahoma State University’s voice and we ask that you be mindful of the content you post. Not only will current faculty, staff and students have access to content you publish, but prospective OSU students, alumni and other visitors might also. As with any OSU communication effort, we always want to convey a positive OSU image.
Anyone who formally communicates on behalf of any University organization, department or college is responsible for understanding and following these guidelines as they relate to their personal and professional usage of digital media accounts. Failure to do so can have far-reaching ramifications, potentially damaging the University’s image and reputation, as well as those of your colleagues, peers and everyone affiliated with OSU.
OSU Digital Media Guidelines
Be Transparent. Always make sure you are honest about your identity and relationship to OSU. Be sure to state the purpose of any site or page created. When possible, provide contact information for individuals to connect with your group through other channels.
When posting, as an individual, on digital media platforms, honesty is the best policy and other users will tolerate nothing less. Use your real name when posting rather than a pseudonym or posting anonymously. When appropriate, clarify your position with OSU. If you have a vested personal or professional interest in a topic you are discussing, acknowledge this.
Protect Your Privacy and that of Others. While it is important to disclose your true identity when engaging in any online community, for your own protection you should not share personal information such as phone numbers, complete physical addresses, passwords, etc.
When managing a digital media site, review the settings to determine what information is being disclosed and adjust the settings accordingly. Likewise, don’t pass along personal information about others.
Protect your sites. As with any okstate.edu web page, it is your responsibility to protect every site for which you are responsible. Passwords should only be shared with those who will manage the site or are responsible for the overall effort. In all cases, more than one person should have access to make administrative changes to ensure a timely response to any needed action.
Sites, which use OSU copyrighted or trademarked material should adhere to University Marketing guidelines. [http://universitymarketing.okstate.edu]
Offer Value to Others. Digital media initiatives should be created when there is an opportunity to share information and build relationships. Listen and engage to get to know the others who are there. Your level of participation will determine the level of success of your participation.
It's a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in professional situations. It’s okay for your comments to reflect your own personality and to say what's on your mind. Try to engage with questions or content that are open-ended, invite response and encourages comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are posting about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared or syndicated. Make sure you post in ways that easily enable sharing.
Respect Others. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Keep in mind everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and spirited debate can be a good thing. Always maintain a level of respect for others and their viewpoints. Resist the temptation to make fun of people even if it would get you a laugh or you feel they might deserve it. When disagreeing with others' opinions, be polite. OSU is known for its friendliness and this should be reflected in our online efforts just as it is in our personal interactions.
Keep Your Engagement Clean and Tasteful. Do not post offensive, obscene, racist, homophobic, sexist or sexually explicit language or photos. This type of content will not be tolerated and will be dealt with according to applicable University policies. As the administrator or manager of a site or page, it is your responsibility to ensure such content is removed immediately.
Adhere to Legal or Regulatory Requirements. Never share proprietary or confidential information or comment on anything related to legal matters without the appropriate approval. Please be familiar with University policies and procedures as well as FERPA limitations.
Do not speak or state a position on behalf of the University without prior approval. As a state–funded university, OSU cannot take a position a variety of topics (i.e. political candidates) and employees of the university are prohibited from stating any position on behalf of the university without prior approval.
No Alcohol or Drugs Allowed, The University’s alcohol and drug policy still applies online. Do not post content or images involving the use of these substances.
Admit Mistakes. If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you're making changes to a blog to correct an earlier post be clear that you have done so.
Create Some Excitement. Your audience is inundated with information every day. Give them a reason to follow or engage with you.
When in Doubt, Don’t Post. If you are concerned whether posting something is appropriate, go with your gut feeling and don’t post the content. Take a minute to review these guidelines again and modify your approach accordingly. If you're still unsure, you might want to discuss your concerns with someone in authority. Ultimately, what you publish is yours, as is the responsibility.
There may be times when additional guidelines need to be created for specific efforts. These should not supersede University guidelines.
Example – OSU Facebook Guidelines
The Oklahoma State University fan page was created as a place for discussions and updates about OSU. We encourage the expression of opinions and discussions of those topics, which surround our great University.
Oklahoma State University reserves the right to moderate any and all comments. Comments will be removed if they meet any of the following criteria:
- Profanity, hate speech, and offensive or inappropriate language.
- Personal attacks on other users or Oklahoma State University faculty, staff or students.
- Posts containing illegal activity, commercial, political or fund raising solicitations, spam, or copyright/trademark infringement.
- Posts containing advertisements or solicitations, including OSU themed products, will be deleted.
- Off-topic posts inappropriate for this forum.
Oklahoma State University reserves the right, at its discretion, to remove any post or to revoke a user's privilege to post to its page.
Comments posted by others do not reflect the opinions of Oklahoma State University.
This Facebook policy is subject to change at the discretion of Oklahoma State University.
Disclaimer on OKStateU
Management of Your Efforts
Every digital media platform should be part of an overarching effort, beyond simply sharing information. Let the following guide you in these efforts:
Identify the purpose – Your creation of any site or engagement on any site should have an identified purpose. The information you provide should be unique and specifically support the stated objectives of your group. Strive to be a valuable resource to your audience by providing important information not easily obtainable elsewhere.
Have a plan – Creating an online presence takes time and dedication. Make sure you have a plan and follow it for the most effective use of your time and to achieve your objectives.
Stay up to date - These guidelines will change from time to time as new technology is utilized and best practices are determined. Please subscribe to the “Socially Orange” group to stay up to date on any changes to these guidelines as well as periodic updates on campus social media initiatives. To join the email distribution list, email firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added. To access the Socially Orange resources, go to https://news.okstate.edu/socially-orange-login and click “Register” to create an account.
Designate responsibilities – Social platforms open a portal for others to communicate with you. You must be prepared to respond to these posts as well as proactively engage with your audience to maximize the impact of your online efforts. Each social site, page or account for your group should have a member of your department, organization or college designated as a manager/administrator, as well as a succession plan should that person leave. These responsibilities should be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure adequate coverage. Inactive accounts or sites can have a detrimental impact on your group’s efforts and image. They should be removed immediately.
Hashtag Usage and Recommendations
Hashtags have taken over social media platforms in the last few years, originating on Twitter but slowly making their way to Instagram and Facebook. Hashtags allow users to easily find messages, conversations, posts and content with a similar theme all in one place. Anyone can create a hashtag quickly and easily, but there are some key factors in making your hashtag successful.
Make it short and sweet. A hashtag can be whatever you want it to be, but it’s best to keep them short, simple and easy to understand. For example, consistently using #okstate rather than #OklahomaStateUniversity keeps posts short and simple while still making the concept easy to understand.
Do not use punctuation in hashtags. Punctuation marks and spaces will put an end to your hashtag, so make sure to spell out words like “and,” and don’t use periods, exclamation points or question marks unless they are at the very end of your hashtag (like in #GoPokes!). For example, use #LoyalAndTrue rather than #Loyal&True (which will only link as #Loyal).
Use capitalization to make your hashtags more readable. If hashtags are one word and already easy to read, like #okstate or #cowboys, use all lowercase letters. However, when using longer hashtags with more words, capitalize the first letter of each word to make your hashtag. For example, use #GoPokes rather than #gopokes, or #OrangeFriday rather than #orangefriday.
Using capital letters to separate the words in your hashtag will differentiate the words from each other so your hashtag is easy to read and understand quickly.
Below is a list of official university hashtags:
#okstate – Represents all conversations about Oklahoma State University. Include in posts you want to be connected with OSU and its audiences.
NOTE: When creating a hashtag or naming a social media account that includes “okstate” and multiple words, the first letter of each subsequent word would be capitalized.
- For instance, the Oklahoma State University Pet Center would be #okstatePetCenter.
#GoPokes – A cheerful phrase that encompasses the Cowboy spirit. Use to emphasize excitement in your social content.
#AmericasBrightestOrange – OSU’s official tagline. Use to emphasize OSU as a national leader in academics and research.
#AmericasHealthiestCampus – Use in any wellness-related post to emphasize OSU’s efforts as America’s Healthiest Campus.
#OrangeFriday – Celebrates the OSU tradition of wearing orange on Fridays.
#CowboyFamily – Emphasizes the family atmosphere at #okstate.
#okstate20 (or other class number) - OSU’s official tag for future Cowboys. Used to connect with incoming freshmen. Number changes with graduation year. For example, the class of 2021’s hashtag will be #okstate21
#okstate125 – OSU’s official hashtag for content related to its 125th anniversary. Use in any post that includes content from timeline.okstate.edu.
#BeAnOSUCowboy – Used in posts encouraging prospective students to be an OSU Cowboy.
#WellnessWednesday – Used each Wednesday to highlight wellness efforts at #okstate.
#okstateHC – OSU’s official Homecoming hashtag.
#OrangePower – The hashtag used to invoke the power of all things #ORANGE in your social content
#LoyalAndTrue - A nostalgic phrase that elicits the spirit and dedication of the Cowboy Family