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Social Media Policy

PCOM Social Media Policy


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 PCOM.

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 ITS. 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 facebook.com/pcom.

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 members belong
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 as appropriate.

 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.
Last Updated: 7/10/15