At Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) we take seriously the rights of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to communicate openly. We aim to encourage and protect diverse perspectives, while also maintaining a positive conversation.
Social Media Overview
Social media provides valuable communication channels through which PPCC can pursue positive, open sharing of information. Social networking sites, social platforms, blogs, applications, games and other digital media tools increase transparency on campus and allow for a tighter-knit global community of our friends and followers.
Like any form of communication, there are risks and responsibilities inherent in the use of social media and digital communications. Improper use can damage reputations and carry legal consequences.
In the case of improper use, the PPCC Marketing & Communication team will address the offense and attempt to resolve the situation. If improper use persists, necessary steps will be taken to preserve the positive and successful use of social media for the PPCC community including the offender’s removal from the community (if necessary).
Although we have attempted to capture as much information and address as much content as possible in these guidelines, the nature of digital communication is ever-changing. We will continue to monitor changes and make necessary adaptations to the PPCC Social Media Guidelines. Please check back and review periodically.
Types of social media include:
- Blogs: a website where regular entries are posted and where readers can leave comments containing text, pictures, images, and links to other blogs. Example: The Huffington Post Blog
- Message Boards: an online discussion site; the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, but housed online. Example: CraigsList.com
- Podcasts: a series of digital media files (usually audio or video) that is made available for download (often via web syndication). Web syndication differentiates podcasts from other streaming file types because of the need for special software (such as iTunes) so the files can be automatically identified and new files can be retrieved when they are made available. Example: An iPhone subscription to NPR’s This American Life.
- Online Videos: video clips placed on the web such as news clips, sporting events, music videos, TV programs. Examples: Youtube, Vimeo, Vine
- Social Networks: online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Examples: Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter
The PPCC Marketing & Communication department does the following:
- Monitors PPCC's online communications channels, including but not limited to Facebook Pages and Groups, social media profiles, blogs, and message boards affiliated with PPCC.
- Approves social media accounts (including Facebook Pages & Groups) and other official college digital properties. Also ensures profile pictures, avatars, images, and/or icons meet PPCC brand standards.
- Reserves the right to monitor and stop online activity that inhibits positive, safe and constructive conversation or may not help PPCC achieve communication goals.
- Monitors any and all digital content.
- Removes inappropriate posts (including those containing hateful or abusive remarks, excessive posting or “spamming,” “cyber-bullying,” use of inappropriate language, and/or content that violates PPCC policies) and bans or blocks disruptive users.
- Can republish, redistribute or otherwise reuse any content posted on our institutional social media sites.
- A personal account on a social media channel differs from an Official Account in the purpose, content and, ideally, namespace of the account.
- A personal account is intended to reflect the manner of speech, personality and interests of an individual.
- If an individual maintains a personal social media account, they should avoid creating confusion over whether or not the account is associated with PPCC. For example, if employees identify themselves online as PPCC faculty or a staff member, it should be clear that the views expressed on their site are not those of the college and they are not acting in their capacity as a college employee. College employees may consider adding this disclaimer to their personal social media accounts: “While I am an employee at PPCC, comments made on this account are my own and do not reflect the official views of the college.”
Division, Department & Program Accounts
If you desire to create a social media account for your department, division, program, class, etc., you MUST first gain approval from the PPCC Marketing & Communication Department prior to acquiring or creating the account. If a social media property is established without prior approval from Marketing & Communication, the site may be taken down at any time.
- The purpose of an official account is to represent the college in a professional capacity and the content of the account should reflect a professional tone and demeanor. If your department, program or division is granted one or more social media channels, the name of the account should clearly indicate the link to the college.
- College employees identified as administrators of accounts are responsible for managing and monitoring content of their social media accounts. Administrators are charged with removing content that: may violate the law or the site’s user terms and conditions (e.g., privacy and copyright concerns); is patently inappropriate or significantly harms the reputation of the college or the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).
- When an employee that is tasked with administering an official social media account leaves employment at the college, it is their program/department/division’s responsibility to designate another college employee to be an account administrator. Administrative credentials must be revoked from the former employee and reassigned to a current employee of that unit.
- Faculty cannot require students to participate in required curriculum assignments or activities on a social media platform as it violates their right to privacy as a student.
CCCS and PPCC have the right to remove or cause the removal of any content for any lawful reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems inappropriate, offensive, threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.
College employees are expected to adhere to same standards of conduct online as they would in the workplace. Laws and procedures respecting contracting and conflict of interest, as well as applicable policies and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and all other college constituents apply online and in the social media context just as they do in personal interactions. Employees are fully responsible for what they post to social media sites.
Social media outlets have blurred the lines between public and private, professional and personal. These best practices will help maximize personal freedom while also getting the most traction from your PPCC affiliation:
- You are representing PPCC. When creating messaging it is from the voice of PPCC, not your own personal voice. Refrain from posting your personal feelings, ideas and opinions. If you need to do so, do it from your personal account.
- Check in with us. If your supervisor has authorized you to post or comment on social media sites for PPCC, contact the Marketing & Communication Department. They will provide you with logos and consult with you on best practices, etc.
- Dialogue not monologue. Social media is not one-way “announcement” communication. Rather it is dialogue, providing an opportunity for two-way communication. Social media is not advertising. Allow constructive criticism from the community, but remove comments that are libelous, obscene, hateful or excessively disruptive.
- Be a moral compass. Never display or promote content that violates college policies, depicts underage drinking, drug use, harassment or discrimination. Consult with the Marketing & Communication Department if you have questions about displaying potentially offensive material.
- Friendly first. Interact in a friendly, respectful and constructive manner.
- Be transparent. About your identity, who you are communicating on behalf of and your intentions.
- Consistency is king. Social media is all about speed. If you aren’t going to post more than two or three times a week, you probably don’t need a social media presence.
- Purposeful communication. There is such a thing as too much communication, so don’t be annoying. Create purpose-driven and planned communication.
- Protect private information. Do not discuss internal policies or operations or personal information. Follow federal, state and University requirements such as FERPA and HIPAA. The importance lies in protecting the privacy of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and student education records.
- Be safe & smart. Sharing photos, text, personal information, individual location, and video has a long life on the Internet and could put you at risk. Be careful about what you post. Think through all potential current and future ramifications of what you post about yourself or others.
- Avoid conflict; respect other opinions. There are many different sides and opinions to any given issue. PPCC seeks to foster an environment that allows for open exchange of ideas in a positive, non-threatening environment. Remember, you are representing the voice of the college, not your own.
- Listen first. Listen carefully to what is being said and investigate accuracy prior to responding.
- Be responsive. When appropriate, address issues that arise from the community with a response even if the response is to indicate you are gathering more information and will get back to them.
- Be serious and factual. Jokes or pranks are prone to misinterpretation.
- Avoid controversy. Engaging in controversial discussions, especially in the name of the college, should be avoided.
- Appropriately direct media inquiries. If you are contacted by a member of the media about a posting or comment on a social networking site or general questions about PPCC, official activities, events, staff, faculty or students via social media, immediately contact Warren Epstein, 502.2666 or Karen Kovaly, 502.2082. Responses will be handled from there. Review our media relations guidelines.
- Monitor and react appropriately. Remove comments, photos, video, posts, links that contain profanity, sell or promote products, are spam or otherwise contain unlawful, threatening, harassing, bullying, slanderous, abusive or hateful content.
- Follow PPCC rules. Communicate only in a manner that is in accordance with the PPCC workplace communication that will not reveal proprietary information that respects intellectual property, privacy, copyrights and patents.
- Verify and source the content. Ensure the content shared or in question is accurate and current. Ensure content is true and authentic. Provide a direct link to the original post and include online references to the author. Make changes to the original post only when necessary to make corrections and preserve the original content by using strikethrough to the changed content.
- Understand the law. As a state-funded institution, PPCC must comply with the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). Understand that all conversations on any PPCC social media channel may be subject to disclosure under CORA. Requests for public records should be directed to the Executive Director of Human Resources.
- No profanity or sexually provocative content is allowed. In general we want to keep social media profiles PG and avoid offensive content.
- No content encouraging the use of drugs or alcohol.
- No content of a religious nature.
- No partisan political content.
- No copyrighted content, including screen captures or memes, unless PPCC holds a license to the content. (See Board Policy 3-90 for more information about intellectual property)
- No photos of underage students without a signed photo waiver.
- No content that sells a product or service outside of approved PPCC vendors.
- No pictures that are only text.
- Posts with unverifiable claims, or possibly scammy content.
Accessibility on Social Media
PPCC intends to iterate improvements to become more accessible on all of our social media platforms. These general guidelines will help make your posts more accessible:
When possible, add a captions and/or subtitles to media you upload, and don’t upload images that are just text.
Write in plain language, using an active voice, and avoiding acronyms
Use camel case in multi-word hashtags. [Use #PikesPeak instead of #pikespeak]
To learn more, please visit:
DigitalGov’s Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit – This resource provided by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, The General Services Administration, Social Media Accessibility Working Group, and others.
Queen’s University Article on Social Media Accessibility – Has some information that focuses on making multimedia within Social Media, accessible.
College employees will use good judgment about content & respect privacy laws. They should not:
- Include confidential information about the college, its staff, or its students.
- Post content that is threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.
- Represent personal opinions as being endorsed by the CCCS, the college or any of their organizations as this is strictly prohibited.
- Use the college’s name or marks to endorse any opinion, product, private business, cause, or political candidate.
- By posting content to any social media site, the employee represents that they own or otherwise have all of the rights necessary to lawfully use that content or that the use of the content is permitted by fair use. Posters also agree that they will not knowingly provide misleading or false information, and that they will indemnify and hold CCCS and the college harmless for any claims resulting from the content.
- Employees should refrain from using information and conducting activities that may violate local, state, or federal laws and regulations. If you are unsure whether certain content is protected by privacy or intellectual property laws, contact CCCS’ legal staff.
- Faculty and staff should consider the ethical ramifications of their interactions with students on social media sites.
- Social media users acting on behalf of their college must adhere to all CCCS/college policies and procedures, including those pertaining to: acceptable use; copyright information; IT security; personal records privacy and security; FERPA/privacy policies; faculty/staff/student codes of conduct; and procurement rules.
- Use of Social Media Sites for the Placement of Advertising: PPCC does not authorize employees outside of the college’s marketing department to enter into advertising agreements with social media sites.
- PPCC Facebook Accounts: PPCC requires that any of their official Facebook pages must have language that prominently directs users to our official website at PPCC.edu.
Official Social Media Properties
PPCC’s Marketing & Communication Department manages and administers the college’s official digital media properties.
These accounts include:
As part of consolidating branding efforts and to incorporate best practices for social media across the college, PPCC is making an effort to shift most of our Facebook pages to Facebook groups.
In the past PPCC has used facebook pages across the college to build community and for promotional activities. This led to the creation of over two dozen PPCC-related pages that averaged around 500 followers and 2-3 posts per semester.
Facebook changed the way it allows pages to push out information by throttling the percentage of followers who see a post to around 10%. That means the average PPCC Facebook page was only reaching about 150 people per semester.
PPCC's main Facebook page has over 11,000 followers, which means that each time we post, approximately 1100 people see it. That means that if posts go on the main PPCC Facebook page instead of one of the other facebook pages, it will reach around 20x the amount of people. With no extra work on anyone's part, we go from reaching 150 people to reaching over 3000 by shifting posts to the main PPCC Facebook page.
On top of that, a shift to the main PPCC Facebook page also allows our institution to share a wider variety of stories and successes which strengthens our social media presence across the board.
About pages vs. Groups, Facebook says:
“While Pages were designed to be the official profiles for entities, such as celebrities, brands or businesses, Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.”
Facebook Groups offer us an opportunity to build community in a much more robust way than pages do because they will notify all members of the group about what has been posted. This encourages better discussion. Also, since most users will stay in your group after graduation and throughout your program, it allows people to connect with each other, share resources, and over time will build an alumni network.
On top of that, Facebook allows groups to be attached to pages, so your group will be connected to the main PPCC Facebook page to allow opportunities for people to find and join your group (and for you to post as PPCC within your group).
All in all, the Facebook consolidation is an effort for us to work more efficeitly as a college and help serve our students in more ways.
Social Media Definitions
Intellectual Property: Someone’s idea, invention, creation, etc., which is protected by law from being copied by someone else.
Social Media: Social media is information created by people using highly accessible publishing technologies. What does that mean? Social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue into dialog and transforming people from readers into publishers (and from content consumers to content producers). Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect online and form personal and professional relationships.
Social Media Terms and Conditions – The terms and conditions are legal definitions governing the use and intent of the specific network and are imposed by the social media website in which the user is participating.
User, Poster: A person submitting content to any social media site.
Posting on PPCC's Social Media Channels
Institutional Accounts (Centralized)
- Primary channel: PPCC Facebook Page
- Secondary channels: LinkedIn, Yelp, Google, Pinterest, Tumblr
Departmental Accounts (Decentralized)
- Primary channel: Instagram, Facebook Group
- Secondary Channels: Twitter, Snapchat
Creating a Social Media Presence
Officially recognized college social media accounts and web pages will be reviewed and approved by the Marketing & Communication Department.