The purpose of these guidelines is to help Duke communicators understand how Duke policies apply to digital communications such as blogs and social media, and to guide them in using social media platforms. The guidelines apply to material that Duke communications offices and related units publish on Duke-hosted websites and branded Duke unit profiles such as those on Facebook and Instagram. Any questions about these guidelines should be directed to socialmedia@duke.edu. Duke Health employees should refer to the specific standards and guidelines established for Duke Health sites and digital channels.

Duke units and departments have wide latitude to create and maintain a presence on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. They should do so in ways that are professional, technically secure and transparent. Units and departments are responsible for ensuring that content posted by, or on behalf of, any unit or department adheres to all Duke University policies and to appropriate laws that govern the public dissemination of information. To that end, units and departments should periodically review the guidelines for social media established by University Communications and consult with University Communications if they have questions about their implementation:

Understand your strategy. Social media efforts should be part of a larger communications strategy. Know what you’re trying to accomplish, and why. Before launching a social media program, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • Is social media the best way to do this?

Remember that everything is public. There’s no such thing as a private or temporary social media post. Search engines can turn up your posts years later and screen captures live forever. Don’t post something today that may haunt you later.

Be respectful. As a general rule, be respectful and don’t post anything you would be uncomfortable saying in a public setting. Follow Duke’s values 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 and follow all applicable Duke University policies. 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.

Actively moderate comments and discussions on your channels. 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.

Respect university time and property. As stated in Duke’s OIT policies, 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 social media on your own time using non-Duke computers.

Set up your accounts with Duke in mind. Use shared email addresses for registration and keep track of passwords (we recommend using LastPass) so that others in your office have access to your accounts if needed, or in case you move on to another position.


Duke University Comment Moderation Policy

Duke University reserves the right to hide or delete off-topic, vulgar or abusive comments. We do not permit comments selling products or promoting commercial ventures. Students should adhere to the Duke Community Standard when posting or commenting on social media.

Posted comments and replies do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the university. All content and posts are bound by the individual platform’s terms of service.

If you have any concerns about the content posted on Duke University’s social media, please email us at socialmedia@duke.edu. We welcome all of your feedback.

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 socialmedia@duke.edu.

  • 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.

Images for Albums and Sharing

Duke’s Asset Management System (NETID required) is a wonderful collection of thousands of current photos and videos of Duke’s campus, programs, people and more. It is refreshed regularly with community-sourced images as well as new content captured by the University Communications team.