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Social Media Guidelines

Pratt Institute Social Media Guidelines

The following guidelines for social media use within the Pratt Community are designed to help students, faculty, and staff to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape while acknowledging that social media complicates social interactions both on-campus and in the classroom. 

Pratt Institute supports freedom of speech in all of its forms. However, exercising said freedoms bears a social consequence. By establishing a set of best practices for our community, the Institute draws a relationship between social media use and the school’s Community Standards, which outline a social code of conduct for the school. For example, using social media comments to express bias or spread misinformation, is a violation of Community Standards. 

Social media is defined to include a wide variety of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok. Each platform features its own legal terms of service and community standards, which Pratt Institute cannot control. Examples of the types of social media accounts found in the Pratt Community include the Institute’s ‘official’ social media accounts; accounts run by Pratt entities such as the Student Government Association; personal accounts of Pratt community members; and anonymous accounts that address the Pratt community. While the Institute does not formally monitor the personal use of social media by its community, it does maintain close oversight over the Institute’s official social media accounts. The Institute recognizes that social media can and often does play a part in real-life scenarios and can intersect with a person’s relationship with the Institute and the campus community — on and off campus, as well as virtually — whether intended or not. We advise the community to remember that material posted online remains there forever; it may be re-contextualized beyond the original intent through others’ online activities.

For Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff are reminded that welcoming students into personal social media space invites greater scrutiny of faculty and staff member social media activity. Faculty and Staff should establish and maintain personal boundaries in doing so, as well as a strong sense of judgment. Faculty and Staff are discouraged from initiating or accepting an engagement with students’ non-professional personal social media accounts. Open, clear one-on-one communications are encouraged. 

Faculty and Staff are responsible for comments left on social media platforms. Faculty and Staff are representatives of the Institute; they are advised to consider the impact their online activity could have on the Institute. 

Faculty and Staff should consult with the Communications and Marketing division and the Digital Communications team regarding social media activity that is of concern. We are a communications resource for the community. 

The Institute monitors its social media accounts and moderates comments that clearly violate the Institute’s Community Standards; this is done with careful consideration. Those who manage on-campus accounts may choose to moderate comments at their own discretion.

For Students

Students are advised that what one publishes on the Internet remains there forever; it may be re-contextualized beyond the original intent through others’ online activities. Students are responsible for their online behavior. 

Students are advised to familiarize themselves with Pratt Institute Community Standards and to consider these standards when expressing themselves or otherwise engaging with social media. Using comments to spread misinformation or express bias is a violation of the Institute’s Community Standards; spreading misinformation about the Institute is a violation of the Institute’s Community Standards. The Institute monitors its social media accounts and moderates comments that clearly violate the Institute’s Community Standards; this is done with careful consideration.

Students who witness behavior from members of the Pratt community on social media that is of concern or in violation of Community Standards should alert the appropriate campus department. 

Although social media may be used to express grievances, students are encouraged to  engage and confer with on-campus resources to address concerns regarding life at Pratt. Urgent concerns can be addressed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by contacting Public Safety and/or Counseling Services.

Students are advised to engage with faculty and staff via social media within the context of professional development only. 


Social Media Communications Best Practices

The following recommendations are provided by the Pratt Office of Communications and Marketing to assist community members in building successful and productive strategies for their social media efforts. The below is not a policy, but rather a set of recommendations.

For Faculty and Staff

The following recommendations are provided for Faculty and Staff who maintain a presence on social media. These recommendations for personal use of social media are not intended to and do not limit your right to engage in protected concerted activities related to terms and conditions of employment. 

Pratt employees should exercise caution and common sense when using social media platforms.

  • If you are identified as affiliated with the Institute you may be seen as a de facto authority or official representative. Consider stating clearly in your profile that your statement’s and ideas are your own and do not represent the Institute. 
  • Social media conduct may be copied or distributed by others long after you post it, even if it exists in a private message. Keep this in mind when interacting on the platforms. 
  • You are responsible for your conduct on social media, be conscious of how digital spaces may function as an extension of campus and understand that the Pratt Community Guidelines apply to all behavior, including online behavior. 

Do not rely on social media as a primary form of  communication with students, particularly in regards to coursework expectations, deadlines, or other important dates. 

  • Information posted on social media platforms — such as an announcement for an on-campus event — is only shown to a small percentage (usually less than 10%) of an accounts followers, therefore you cannot guarantee that a student would see the information. 
  • Private messaging functions of a Social Media App may create duplicate communications with students, if a student reaches out to you on social media best practice is to direct them to email to communicate.
  • Social media platforms do not present information chronologically to users; this means time sensitive information may be shown after the fact.

Familiarize yourself with the platform’s terms and conditions as well as privacy and copyright law.

  • Don’t provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you, such as your home address, email, or phone number. Be aware of the potential to have your account hacked by phishers, never click on a link and enter your profile information or other personal details. 
  • Always obtain permission and give credit when posting student work.

When posting student work be mindful of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which restricts disclosure of student records/information. Any personal information beyond a student’s name and area of study should not be posted to Social Media platforms.

For Faculty and Staff Managing Institutional Accounts

Before launching new social media accounts consider your goals for the platform: 

  • Be strategic: What do you plan to use social media to share?
  • Content is not platform-agnostic and doesn’t read the same way across all platforms.
  • Remember that your organization doesn’t have to be represented on all platforms.

Create your social media accounts with both the integrity of account content and the longevity of the account in mind.

  • Institutional social media accounts should not be associated with a personal email account.
    • Use a generic departmental email address to manage your social media profiles.
    • Departments are strongly encouraged to have an alternate administrator on their social media accounts.This way account access is not lost if someone leaves the Institute.

Social media is one element of a larger communications strategy and ecosystem. In order to use it as a successful communications tool, consider how people are encountering the information you are sharing. 

  • Don’t rely on social media to communicate with your group or team, especially with time-sensitive information.  
    • Remember: platform algorithms do not present content chronologically.
    • Your content is more likely to be shown to the users that have engaged with it in the past.
    • Remember that content is usually consumed on a mobile device, a design that works at a large scale (like a poster) may not work on a phone screen.

The following strategies will help grow engagement on your accounts: 

  • Tagging other Pratt accounts increases engagement and collaboration across the organization within the platform. Be sure to tag appropriate and relevant accounts. 
  • Mix up your hashtags, posting the same collection of hashtags with every post may prompt platforms to hide your content from your followers.
  • Consistency builds audience growth and engagement. 

In order to make content as accessible as possible be sure to utilize best practices for accessibility:

  • When posting flyers and images with text to Instagram or other platforms make sure any information in the graphic is included in alt text and/or the post caption. 
  • If possible, always open or close-caption video.

Consider the following points in order to remain in compliance with both the platform’s terms of service, intellectual property rights, and Pratt’s community standards:

  • Get permission and give credit when posting student work or content from other accounts.
  • Familiarize yourself with copyright and fair use guidelines as well as the terms and conditions of the platform your group is using.
  • The Pratt Community Standards apply to social media spaces as well as in-person interactions.

For Student Organizations

Before launching new social media accounts consider your goals for the platform: 

  • Be strategic and plan in advance. What will you use social media to share? 
  • Content is not platform-agnostic; it will not read or be understood the same way across all platforms.
  • Remember that your organization doesn’t have to be represented on all platforms.

Create your social media accounts with both the integrity of account content and the longevity of the account in mind.

  • Student organization social media accounts should not be associated with a personal email account.
    • Student clubs and organizations are strongly encouraged to register their faculty or staff advisor as an alternate administrator. If club leaders change or graduate, the club advisor will be able to grant access to new club officers and members.

Social media is one element of a larger communications strategy. In order to use it as a successful communications tool, consider how people are encountering the information you are sharing. 

  • Don’t rely on social media to communicate directly with your group or team, especially with time-sensitive information.  
    • Remember: platform algorithms do not present content chronologically.
    • Your content is more likely to be shown to the users that engage with it.

The following strategies will help grow engagement on social media  accounts: 

  • Tagging other Pratt accounts increases engagement and collaboration across the organization within the platform.
  • Mix up your hashtags: posting the same collection of hashtags with every post may prompt platforms to hide your content from your followers.
  • Consistency builds audience growth and engagement. 

In order to make content as accessible as possible be sure to utilize best practices for accessibility:

  • When posting flyers and images with text to Instagram or other platforms make sure any information in the graphic is included in alt text and/or the post caption. 
  • If possible, always open or closed-caption video.

Consider the following points in order to remain in compliance with both the platform’s terms of service, intellectual property rights, and Pratt’s Community Standards:

  • Get permission and give credit when posting student work or content from other accounts.
  • Familiarize yourself with copyright and fair use guidelines as well as the terms and conditions of the platform your group is using.
  • Never post personal information about yourself or other Pratt community members.

The above guidelines were produced by the Social Media Task Force, a committee of administrative staff and faculty representing a diverse stakeholdership across the Institute. 

Task Force Members

Sarah Hromack, Director of Digital Communications, Division of Communications and Marketing

Julianna Dow, Social Media Coordinator, Division of Communications and Marketing

Steven Ricobonno, Associate Vice President, Human Resources

Tom Greene, Director of Legal Affairs, Legal Council

Farzam Yazdenseta, Assistant Chairperson of Undergraduate Architecture, Adjunct Assistant Professor 

Jessica Preston, Administrative Manager and Assessment Coordinator

Counseling Center

Jasmine Cuffie, Coordinator of Health Education and Promotion

Tyler Cino Maradiaga, Program Coordinator Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Brett Reynolds, Digital Marketing Specialist, Division of Communications and Marketing

Taylor Maultz, Assistant Director of Student Engagement

Student Involvement