PCOM Social Media Policy
1. POLICY OVERVIEW
1.1. The term “social media” refers to the use of Web-based and mobile technologies
to turn communication into an interactive dialogue. Social networking now accounts
for 22 percent of all time spent online in the US. News has changed and there is no
longer a sole reliance on media outlets to keep people informed. Thanks to technology,
anyone can share their news anytime with their network of followers. Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine (“PCOM”) realizes that social media sites like Facebook,
Blogger, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Issuu have become important and influential communication
channels for our community. While it is solely your decision whether to engage in
social media activities outside of work/campus time and on your own personal equipment,
this policy is intended to provide helpful, practical advice to protect both you and
1.2. This social media policy (the “Policy”) applies to the PCOM faculty and staff,
as well as to our students, alumni and stakeholders (collectively, “user” or “you”)
participating in social media. The purpose of using these channels is to support PCOM’s
Mission and to disseminate college news, information, content and directives, and
such use must be consistent with the procedures and guidelines contained in this Policy.
1.3. When using any social media channel, you should assume at all times that you
are representing PCOM. Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues,
associates, classmates and PCOM’s supporters/community. You should refrain from reporting,
speculating, discussing or giving any opinions on PCOM topics that could be considered
sensitive or disparaging.
1.4. PCOM has a social media team, responsible for its official social media presence
that consists of individuals from the Offices of Marketing & Communications, Admissions,
Student Affairs, Educational Media and MIS. Both campuses are represented. Administrators
for PCOM’s official Facebook page are responsible for their own department content.
Content for PCOM’s blogs and YouTube channel is handled directly through the Office
of Marketing & Communications.
2. PLATFORMS. PCOM’s main social media platform includes:
2.1. Facebook. As of June 2011, Facebook had 750 million users. Facebook tops Google
for weekly traffic in the U.S. It provides users with an opportunity to build an online
community with other users and organizations. PCOM has an official Facebook page that
is managed by key administrators in Marketing & Communications, Admissions (from both
Philadelphia and Georgia campus), and Student Affairs. Both campuses are represented.
PCOM builds value with wall posts, status updates and photos/videos. The more interactions
users have with PCOM and vice versa, the more familiar users become with the PCOM
brand, strengthening brand loyalty. PCOM’s official Facebook page can be found at
2.2. YouTube. The average YouTube user spends between 15 and 25 minutes a day on
the site. YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, which results
in an estimated 92 billion page views each month. Users spend around 2.9 billion hours
on YouTube in a month. Those stats are just for the main YouTube Web site; they don’t
incorporate embedded videos or video watched on mobile devices. PCOM has a channel
that houses all videos that PCOM creates and videos that showcase PCOM’s medical school
and graduate programs on television. Users can subscribe to PCOM’s channel and stay
up to date when new content has been added. Any relevant content regarding PCOM is
managed by Marketing & Communications. PCOM’s channel can be found at youtube.com/pcomeducation.
2.3. LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and is rapidly growing.
Currently, there are over
120 million members who exchange information, ideas and opportunities. Over 17.8 million
to groups on LinkedIn, and 1 million companies have company profiles. PCOM is listed
as a company on
2.4. Blogger. PCOM’s blogs are housed through blogger.com. PCOM students author
these blogs, telling stories about their experiences as PCOM students. Several graduate
programs are represented in addition to the DO program. Each student has full authorization
of his or her entries and content is overseen by Marketing & Communications. The represented
programs are listed below:
Physician Assistant Studies: The Pursuits of a PA
Biomedical Sciences: Biomedventures: Lectures, Late-Nights and Life
Clinical Psychology: Mind over Matter
2.5 Issuu. Issuu is an online service that allows viewing of digitally uploaded
material such as portfolios, books, magazines, newspapers and other print media. It
integrates with social networking sites to promote uploaded material. Issuu's service
is comparable to YouTube video-sharing. All of PCOM’s printed publications are housed
on this site and are available for downloadable use under the term PCOM. PCOM’s bookshelf
of printed publications can be found at http://issuu.com/pcomeducation
3. GUIDELINES. You are expected to use your best judgment at all times while engaging
in social media activities. The following guidelines apply to all social media activities
by you at all times, whether or not on campus or using PCOM equipment.
3.1. Use of PCOM’s Equipment. Except as specifically authorized, faculty and staff
(fulltime and part-time), should limit or refrain from conducting blogging or social
and professional networking activities using PCOM’s equipment-including computers,
handheld electronic devices, company-licensed software or other electronic equipment-or
on PCOM’s time (whether using PCOM’s equipment or not).
3.2. Social Media is Inherently “Open.” You have no reasonable expectation of privacy
when you engage in social media activities using PCOM’s equipment. Any posted material
is subject to review in accordance with PCOM’s faculty/staff and student policies
and the use of social media in any context does not guarantee the privacy of any content.
Information, including pictures or videos, that a user posts to social media sites,
including your own sites, may be reviewed by PCOM. PCOM reserves the right to monitor
comments or discussions about the College, its faculty, staff, employees, students,
vendors, and the industry, posted on the Internet by anyone, including faculty, staff
and students (whether part-time or fulltime). PCOM may use search tools and software
to monitor social media activity such as blogs, social networking sites, postings,
and other types of personal journals, diaries, and personal and business discussion
forums. For reference, a “posting” may include any type of online communication, whether
written, pictures, video or otherwise, whether posted by you or on your behalf. You
are reminded that you do not have the right of privacy with respect to any messages
or information created or maintained on PCOM’s systems, regardless of whether that
information has been deleted or erased.
3.3. Adhere to PCOM’s handbooks and other applicable policies. This Policy and other
policies in the PCOM General Student Handbook, individual academic program handbooks,
the Faculty Handbook or any applicable agreement between you and PCOM govern your
behavior with respect to electronic communications, use of PCOM property and confidentiality
obligations, to name a few, and these policies are applicable to your personal activities
online as well.
3.4. You are personally responsible for what you post. All users are personally responsible
for the content they publish on social media. To help clarify that your comments are
not on the behalf of PCOM (unless specifically authorized by PCOM), users should publish
content in the first person. While users may mention in their personal profiles that
they work for or attend PCOM, please do not use the PCOM name in any user name (such
as “PCOMSusan”), whether or not in the workplace.
3.5. Speaking on behalf of PCOM requires written approval. To speak on behalf of
PCOM, you must obtain the written approval of the College in advance. With approval,
you should focus your contributions on topics related to your area of expertise and
ensure that all statements are truthful. Your relationship with PCOM must be disclosed
in a “clear and conspicuous” manner, such as “I am a PCOM faculty member.” Even with
PCOM’s approval, you may be liable for your actions online.
3.6. Maintain confidentiality. You may not disclose any confidential or proprietary
information of or about PCOM, its affiliates, faculty, staff or students, including
by not limited to business and financial information, represent that you are communicating
the views of PCOM (unless specifically directed to do so by PCOM in writing), or do
anything that might reasonably create the impression that you are communicating on
behalf of or as a representative of PCOM without proper approval. If the information
is not already public, you should not make it so.
3.7. When necessary, use disclaimers. If you publish content to any Web site outside
of PCOM and it implicates your professional roles and responsibilities or subjects
associated with PCOM, use a disclaimer such as: “The postings on this site are my
own and do not necessarily represent PCOM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.”
3.8. Respect your audience. Do not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, threatening
or inflammatory communications, obscenities, or engage in any conduct that would not
be acceptable in PCOM’s workplace. You should also show proper consideration for the
privacy of others’ and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory.
If you should make an error online, be open and up front about the mistake and correct
it. For example, in a blog setting, if you correct an earlier post, make it clear
to readers that you have done so.
3.9. Respect your fellow users. Users should not comment on, or post photographs
of, other users, or PCOM events on personal blogs or social media sites without prior
consent. Send any concerning links or posts to the Office of Marketing & Communications
and the proper PCOM faculty or staff member will address any issues and post responses
3.10. Obey the law. Do not post any information or participate in any social media
activity that may violate applicable local, state, or federal laws or regulations.
Users are prohibited from using any copyrights, trademarks or logos of PCOM without
prior written approval of management.
3.11. Exercise discretion when adding “friends.” The process of inviting or responding
to a colleague’s or classmate’s “friend” request can often be awkward or create feelings
of exclusion or coercion. Therefore, when initiating or responding to a “friend” request,
you should use caution and be mindful of the implications of such requests. Supervisors
and members of management should refrain from becoming “friends” with subordinates.
4.1. Those who violate PCOM’s Social Media Guidelines may be subject to disciplinary
action, up to and including termination of employment, or may be suspended, subject
to the requirements and prohibitions of state and federal law and PCOM policies. If
you have any questions about this Policy or a specific posting online, please contact
the Office of Marketing & Communications at 215.871.6300.