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The internet is open to a world-wide audience. When using social media channels, ask yourself:

1. Did I set my privacy setting to help control who can look at my profile, personal information and photos? You can limit access somewhat but not completely, and you have no control over what someone else may share.

2. How much information do I want strangers to know about me? If I give them my cell phone number, address, email, class schedule, a list of possessions (such as my CD collection) how might they use it? With whom will they share it? Not everyone will respect your personal or physical space.

3. Is the image I’m projecting by my materials and photos the one I want my current and future friends to know me by? What does my profile say to potential faculty members/advisors? Future graduate school/internship interviewers? Potential employers? Neighbors? Family? Parents? Which doors am I opening and which am I closing?

4. What if I change my mind about what I post? For instance, what if I want to remove something I posted as a joke or to make a point? Have I read the social networking site’s privacy and caching statements? Removing material from network caches can be difficult. Posted material can remain accessible on the internet until you’ve completed the prescribed process for removing information from the caching technology of one or multiple (potentially unknown) search engines.

5. Have I asked permission to post someone else’s image or information? Am I infringing on their privacy? Could I be hurting someone? Could I be subject to libel suits? Am I violating network use policy or HIPAA privacy rules?

6. Does my equipment have spyware and virus protections installed? Some sites collect profile information to SPAM you. Others contain links that can infect your equipment with viruses that potentially can destroy data and infect others with whom you communicate. Remember to back up your work on an external source in case of destructive attacks.


The following published sources are used throughout the social media guidelines:

  1. DePaul University: http://brandresources.depaul.edu/vendor_guidelines/g_recommendation. aspx
  2. University of Michigan: