Understand your strategy.

Social media efforts should be part of a larger communications strategy. Know what you’re trying to accomplish, and why. Who is your audience? What do you want them to do? Is social media the best way to do this?

Follow all applicable Duke University policies.

For example, you must not share confidential or proprietary information about Duke University. Among the policies most pertinent to this discussion are those concerning government affairs (PDF), mutual respect, computer, e-mail & Internet use and student financial aid.

Everything is public.

There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up your posts years later. Don’t post something today that may haunt you later.

Be respectful.

If readers see your affiliation with Duke, they may read your words as representing the university, even if you provide a disclaimer saying your views are your own. As a general rule, be respectful and don’t post anything you would be uncomfortable saying in a public setting. Follow the Duke Guiding Principles and the Duke Community Standard.

Be transparent about your role at Duke.

If you participate in or maintain a social media site on behalf of the university, clearly state your role and goals. Strive for accuracy, correcting errors quickly and visibly. If you have questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain material, ask your supervisor first.

Maintain confidentiality.

Do not post confidential, proprietary or protected health information about students, employees, patients or other members of the Duke community. Use good ethical judgment. All federal guidelines such as FERPA, HIPAA and university policies such as the Duke Confidentiality Agreement must be observed on Duke-sponsored or Duke-maintained social media sites.

Protect your identity.

Don’t provide personal information about yourself or others that scam artists and identity thieves might steal.

Moderate comments and discussions.

By their nature, social networking sites are participatory and involve sharing among multiple users. However, it is important to monitor live discussions for off-topic or abusive comments. Whenever possible, moderate comments and be transparent about doing so by including language similar to the comments policy on Duke University’s Facebook Page.

Respect university time and property.

As stated in Duke’s “Computing and Networking: Acceptable Use” policy, university computers and work time are to be used for university-related business. It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, but maintain your personal site on your own time using non-Duke computers.

Branding and Graphics

Representing the Duke brand on Social Media

When you post to social networks from an official Duke University account, you are representing the Duke brand. Here are some simple guidelines to help put your best foot forward. If you have specific questions on branding, please contact the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications.

  • Begin with “Duke” when creating a name for your Facebook Page, Twitter account or other social media presences
  • Use of the Duke logo is reserved for Duke’s institutional departments, centers and units
  • Where available, departments, schools and units should use their official logos and iconic images to build their profiles

Please follow Duke’s policies and procedures regarding copyright, privacy and sharing of information.

Downloadable Graphics and Profile Images

These downloadable graphics are available for use by official Duke social media accounts. They include cover image and background art for Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

The profile image is intended for use on social media channels only. The profile image .ai file can be customized with the name of your area in the lower portion. However, please do not alter the profile image graphic in any other way.

Images for Albums and Sharing

A collection of #PictureDuke images were captured by the Duke community during PhotoWalk events across campus. These photos are downloadable via Flickr and can be used by institutional departments for social media purposes. Please credit the photographer when using images from the #PictureDuke collection.

Best Practices

Quick Guide to Blogging, Tweeting and Facebook