ISU 1:1

What is ISU 1:1?
This is our goal to use today's technology to help provide a place where people can meet, share, and get reliable information about Indiana State University.

Content:
  The Purpose Of Social Media
  Be Consistent
  Social Media Starts With Social
  Be Responsible
  Bring Value
  Be Authentic
  Consider Your Audience
  The Concept Of Community
  The Nature Of Social Media
  Copyrights And Fair Use
  Be Judicious
  Perception Is Reality
  Oops!
  Pause
  Now You Did It
  Keep It Simple

These are the guidelines which are being employed by ISU Web Services in developing the university's social media presence.

Our purpose is to use Social Media to present online credibility and to gain trust through a 4-stepped approach. This is the same 4 step program used by President Barack Obama for his online media campaign in 2008.

Step 1. Crawl: Establish an online presence.
Step 2. Walk: Enrich the content.
Step 3. Run: Engage people.
Step 4. Fly: Embrace the concept of community.

The Purpose Of Social Media
It is all about using today’s technology to present the positive aspects of Indiana State University and to open the lines of communication.

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Be Consistent And Ensure That People Can Find Your Content

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Social Media Starts With Social: It Is About Conversation

The whole concept is to engage people in conversation. While you can use the forums to send out information, the reason social media has become so popular is the idea that people can comment and share thoughts and ideas. This invites more than just positive feedback. Talk to your readers like you would talk to someone face to face. Don’t use "composed" language. Bring in your own style and your own personality. Try to use open-ended statements and questions that invite a response. Encourage comments. Pass along both the good and bad. Good shows what we are doing right, bad shows areas of opportunity.

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Be Responsible For What You Write

Use good judgment and common sense. All communication should be honest and fair. No secrets and be careful of personal comments. This is a University site, not your site. What you write is ultimately your responsibility but reflects on the University. Participation in social computing on behalf of ISU is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect.

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Bring Value

You can try to frame conversations around topical and specific issues around campus. Help people learn about the ISU community and all we have to offer. One part of being the social media person is a lot like being a news reporter. Highlight the headlines and give some of the back story by driving people back to our website. On Twitter, use keywords and hash tags, when appropriate, so that readers become interested in the conversation, thread, or topic. News reporters relate to their readers by telling stories where people are affected by a situation or event. Social media is the same thing. It is people that keep it interesting. Engage people liberally. Learn to use a conversational tone and be mindful of the community spirit.

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Be Authentic

Be who you are. Don’t try to sound like an expert at something you know nothing about. Many people use social media anonymously. That might be fine for personal use but everything done for ISU should be open. We believe in transparency and honesty. If you are sharing about your school work, school events, or any news story for ISU, we encourage you to use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for ISU.
In the online social media environment, people can soon see what is honest or dishonest. With that in mind you also need to be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. Use your first name, a nick name, or even a tag that shows you are part of the Web team. Learn to balance personal and professional information. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.

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Consider Your Audience

Remember that Indiana State University is a global organization whose employees, staff, and students reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don't be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion.

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Understand The Concept Of Community

The idea behind an online community is that it exists to help you support others. In turn, others can support you. Your community shouldn’t be an environment where competition is encouraged or emphasized, but rather a platform where your followers feel comfortable sharing, connecting, and receiving help.

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Understand The Nature Of Social Media

This is a place where people are people. Comments might be made that members of Indiana State University might not like. We do not control other people's comments. We can take steps to remove offensive or illegal material that might pop up, but it is not our place to rewrite it for them as a favorable press release about ISU. We know that ISU has a lot to offer the world and we will do our best to use these outlets to spotlight these qualities.

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Respect Copyrights And Fair Use

Provide links to material when they are available. Show proper respect for copyright and fair use laws. Only quote short excerpts of other people’s material and always try to link to others' work.

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Be Judicious

All of your statements need to be true, never misleading. You might need to substantiate your comments. These forums should never be used to comment on sensitive material. This might include any potential legal matters, litigation, or any parties we are in litigation, financials, ISU intellectual property, personnel changes, layoffs, and contractual agreements. We don’t have the authority to comment on those items. If you want to write about other colleges and schools, make sure you know what you are talking about and that you have permission. Don't try to settle scores or goad members of other schools into inflammatory debates. The updates we publish are widely accessible and will be around for a long time. Another thing we don’t do is we don't pick fights. If you ever see misrepresentations made about ISU, the forums might be used to point out the errors or help “set the record straight” but this matter should be done with respect. We should always stick to the facts, make sure that it does not disparage the person making the comment and identify your affiliation. Avoid arguments. Big knockdown, drag out fights might earn traffic, but neither party wins in the end.

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Perception Is Reality

It is easy for the lines between personal and professional to become blurred when using social media. Just by identifying yourself as an ISU employee, you are creating perceptions about yourself and your right to speak for the college. Many people may be watching including our alumni, present students, prospective students, and the general public. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with the values and professional standards that ISU wants to present to everyone.

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Oops! Did You Screw Up?

Did you mess up? Congratulations, you are now a normal human being. Admit it. Be upfront and then correct it. If you make an error on a blog or a similar site, the best method is to modify the earlier post and make a notation that you have done so. Do not just delete it and "hope it goes away."

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If It Gives You Pause, Then Pause!

You might be in the middle of a great conversation or a healthy debate but don’t let haste cause problems. We don’t need to respond to every criticism. One option is to invite differing points of view without causing others to be insulted and sometimes it is best to not get involved at all. Some topics are a no win scenario like politics or religion. Everyone has their own opinion and it is not ISU’s policy to get in the middle of those debates. So be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can't really get them back. Once a discussion gets going, it's hard to stop. If something that you want to write makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable then STOP! Review the guidelines, consult the other members of the web team, and figure out what it is that is bothering you. If everyone is still unsure, you might want to discuss it with our legal representative. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. Be Sure!

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Oh Boy, Now You Did It!

Just remember, for every site you create – you have to maintain. In the web world, it actually does more harm to do something half-way than to not do it at all. Just because something is new does not mean we have to be there. We need to explore new areas but we should be sure they are a valuable investment of our time before making it world wide.

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Keep It Simple

Finally, avoid the temptation to fit more into a tweet or post by the liberal use of slang or a lot of popular abbreviations. While many people know what lol and rotfl might mean, not everyone does. Shorthand might help your text size, but it also might make your tweet read like a teenager’s text message. News reporters often try to tell their story by being simple and clear. Don’t try to fit too much information into a single message. Also: Link directly to blogs or other online sources. Make a link to the full story on ISU’s website. Shorten URLs through tinyurl or bit.ly or one of the more stable services. On twitter, leave room for people to retweet. If you use all 140 characters, it makes it hard for people to pass along your comments.

We welcome and invite all interested parties to add their opinion and contribute toward improving these guidelines. Send comments or suggestion to web@indstate.edu.

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