Emerging platforms for online collaboration and social networking are fundamentally changing the way we work, offering new ways to engage with colleagues, prospective and current students, prospective and current clients, alumni, industry colleagues, the media and the general public. It’s a new model for interaction and we believe online social networking can help you to build stronger, more successful personal and business relationships. It is also a way for you to take part in global conversations related to the work we are doing at Thunderbird and to establish and promote your own “brand” and thought leadership.
The opportunities for Thunderbird and its stakeholders in this New Media space is further complemented by the very nature of our global network and our ability to compound our global reach through these fast-growing technologies.
Official Thunderbird Accounts
Thunderbird maintains official school social media accounts for various sites, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and iTunes University. Only official school accounts, and other affiliated groups that have been pre-approved, can use Thunderbird’s logo as an avatar or profile picture. Such accounts must follow institutional branding standards and guidelines. These are available in the Marketing section of MTB or by contacting Tim Clarke at 7512 or email@example.com.
To get approval and design support for creating an official social media presence on Thunderbird’s behalf, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
- The purpose of a social media presence.
- What are your goals for this account?
- What types of information will you be sharing?
- Who is your target audience for the account?
- Who will serve as the administrator of the account? (At least two administrators are mandatory per account. One primary and one backup.)
- How often do you plan to update it?
- What is the user name and password for this account?
*If you are the account holder overseeing an official Thunderbird account, you are required to provide your user name and password to the Communications department as well as notify the department of any changes to your user name and password. This is to ensure that your social media account is maintained and updated if your roles and responsibilities change.
Rules of Engagement
We expect all employees and contractors creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off Thunderbird.edu or the Thunderbird Knowledge Network to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge.
If you participate in social media, please follow these guiding principles:
- Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on what’s going on at Thunderbird and in the world.
- Post meaningful, respectful comments—in other words, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.
- Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.
- Respect proprietary information and content, and confidentiality.
- When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it appropriate and polite.
Are you adding value? There are millions of words out there. The best way to get yours read is to write things that people will value. Social communication from Thunderbird should help our faculty, staff, students, and co-workers. It should be thought-provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps people improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their jobs, solve problems, or understand Thunderbird better—then it’s adding value.
Create some excitement. As a business and as a corporate citizen, Thunderbird is making important contributions to the world and to public dialogue on a broad range of issues. Let’s share with the world the exciting things we’re learning and doing—and open up the channels to learn from others.
Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as a Thunderbird employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Thunderbird by our faculty, staff, students, and the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and managers. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Thunderbird’s values and professional standards.
Protect and promote your personal “brand.” Because there is great cross-over between your personal and professional use of social media, it is important when using these platforms for you to keep your personal “brand” and how you want to be perceived front-of-mind.
It’s a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in professional situations. In other words, avoid overly pedantic or “composed” language. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality. Consider content that’s open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are blogging about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared or syndicated.
Be transparent. Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. If you are blogging about your work at Thunderbird, use your real name, identify that you work for Thunderbird, and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out.
Be judicious. Make sure your efforts to be transparent don’t violate Thunderbird’s privacy, confidentiality, or codes of conduct as specified in the institutional Employee Policies and Procedures Manual. Ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to Thunderbird. All statements must be true and not misleading. Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties to litigation. If you want to write about the competition, make sure you know what you are talking about and that you have the appropriate permission. Also be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and Thunderbird confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully and be diligent in customizing the privacy settings in your accounts.
Write what you know. Make sure you write and post about your areas of expertise, especially as related to Thunderbird. If you are writing about a topic that Thunderbird is involved with but you are not the Thunderbird expert on the topic, you should make this clear to your readers. And write in the first person. If you publish to a website outside Thunderbird, please use a disclaimer something like this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Thunderbird’s positions, strategies, or opinions.” Also, please refrain from violating brand, trademark, copyright, fair use, trade secrets, confidentiality, and financial disclosure laws. Remember, you may be personally responsible for your content.
Be a Leader. There can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Do not denigrate our competitors or Thunderbird. Nor do you need to respond to every criticism or barb. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Some topics—like politics or religion—slide more easily into sensitive territory. So be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can’t really get them back. And once an inflammatory discussion gets going, it’s hard to stop.
If it gives you pause, pause. If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ’send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, you might want to discuss it with your manager or legal representative. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. So be sure.
Mistakes. If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you’re posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.
Your Responsibility: What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social computing on behalf of Thunderbird is not a right but a privilege, so please treat it seriously and with respect. If you want to participate on behalf of Thunderbird, please know and follow these Guidelines. Failure to abide by these guidelines could put your participation at risk. You must also always abide by the terms and conditions of these third-party sites.
Guidelines for potentially damaging posts. Staff members in the communications department and individuals leading or administrating Thunderbird-specific pages or groups within social media platforms have the responsibility of monitoring and engaging in discussions within those platforms. Any posts or comments that could be potentially damaging to the school’s reputation or brand, should be reported to the school’s public relations specialist (Samantha Novick) or senior director of corporate communications (Carol Sunnucks) before reacting or responding to the post. The communications team will discern the gravity of the situation and respond accordingly.
Thunderbird Knowledge Network Moderation Guidelines
Moderation is the act of reviewing and approving content before it’s published on the site. Thunderbird does not endorse or take responsibility for content posted by third parties. It is preferred that all content be posted by registered users of a site in accordance with accepted terms and conditions and a code of conduct.
Thunderbird Content: We do not moderate content we publish. This means we allow our blog authors to post directly without approval, as long as they have taken the required trainings. Training will be provided by the Communications department on approval of blog access in the Knowledge Network.
Anonymous Content: Anonymous content is defined as content submitted as a comment, reply, or post to a Thunderbird site where the user has not registered and is not logged in to the site. For anonymous content, we require moderation on all submissions. Authors of the originating content and space moderators are required to review the content for approval or deletion before the content can be published.
Registered Content: Registered content is content submitted as a comment, reply, or post to a Thunderbird site where the user has registered and is logged in to the site. We do not require moderation of registered content before the content is published to the site. Registered content is directly published and content is moderated post-publishing.
Thunderbird strives for a balanced online dialogue. When we do moderate content, we moderate using three guiding principles: The Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly. If the content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then we approve the content, regardless of whether it’s favorable or unfavorable to Thunderbird. However if the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating and completely out of context, then we reject the content.
Last updated: April 2010.