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Appropriate use of social media guidelines

We know that most of you will have a presence on social media during your time as a student at Middlesex University. Social media provides a great way to stay in touch and share ideas. However, it can also cause problems.

To support those of you who choose to use social media platforms, we have created the following guidelines.

You may also find it helpful to refer to the other important University documents on this topic.

  • Decide on the identity of your social media accounts

If you are setting up or updating your social media accounts, it is a good moment to think about the key purpose of each one of them and to consider the following questions. Setting up separate accounts for different purposes might seem time-consuming, but it’s worth considering doing so.

Having separate social media accounts for personal stuff and your student life might help you to stay focussed and to start building your professional and public profile as soon as you become a student. If you prefer to blend your private and university lives, then consider the pros and cons.

  • Is the account for personal use? What is its main purpose? To share your personal news with your family and friends or is it for your university life? (e.g. to link with the University’s twitter feed, or to follow a company that you would like to approach in the future for a placement)?
  • Should I use the same social media account for my personal and student life?
  • Should I create separate accounts for different purposes?
  • You might already have a range of social media accounts that link to your family and friends. Would they want to be linked to your new friends, classmates and tutors at University?
  • Finding official Middlesex spaces

If you’re looking to connect with other Middlesex students online or with the University's official social media accounts, then there are a number of potential places to do this. We’ve compiled a list of relevant social media groups and pages on UniHub. Either follow a few of these accounts to keep up with news or directly connect with them. In either case, observe the language used and model your own style of communication accordingly.

Programme and Module Specific Social Media Accounts

There may also be groups that have been created specifically for you on your programme. You can find out whether these groups exist by asking your Programme Leader or any of the Student Voice Leaders on your programme. Social media might also be used as part of your module’s learning activities. If so, ensure that you follow your tutor’s guidance carefully.

  • Protecting your reputation and future job prospects

Whilst most social media sites give you some control of your privacy settings, you should remember that your posts and images can be screenshotted and shared into public spaces. Even if you post within a closed or private group, this information may be shared more broadly.

Wherever you upload your photograph, make sure you maintain a professional visual identity.

What does ‘professional’ mean?

For example, follow the standards of a photograph you would add on your passport, driving licence and on any public platform. Remember that photos of you can be easily shared via screenshots. Make sure you appear in the most professional fashion across media and platforms: email; My Learning; UniHub; all Middlesex communication channels; external social media.

It’s therefore really important that you think about what you’re posting, before you post it.

It is also now standard practice for employers to check out the social media profiles of applicants. You should therefore be aware that what you post has the potential to affect not just your reputation, but also your potential career.

Finally, if something that you’ve posted could cause damage to the University’s reputation, then we may consider disciplinary action.

  • Positive social media etiquette

Conversations on social media can sometimes escalate into argument. You are expected to show respect for other students in all conversations online (including on social media).

Before posting on social media you should think about how what you’re posting might affect other people. You can ask yourself the following questions:

- If you’re posting content that includes other people (e.g. their photos), have you checked whether they’re happy for that to be shared online?

- Does what you’re posting contain any type of offensive language (e.g. sexist, racist, homophobic or transphobic)?

- Are you saying something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in person?

- If you’re sending a message to someone, how would you feel if you received that same message?

- If you're posting about a sensitive topic, it might help to first see if there are any helpful resources about this issue within our Changing the Culture initiative - here you’ll find introductory resources to help you understand and celebrate our key values as a diverse, inclusive, supportive and safe community.

  • Bullying, harassment and abuse

Bullying and harassment will not be tolerated from any Middlesex student. If you experience or witness any bullying or harassment then we strongly encourage you to complete the online Report.It.To.Stop.It form. You can find more information about the process and guidance on UniHub.

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