Social networking services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and personal blogs have become extremely popular over the last few years.  These services enable individuals, or groups of individuals, to build a following of people based on shared interests.  You can use them to rekindle old relationships, keep family and friends up-to-date with recent activities, conduct professional networking and discuss, or comment on the “hot” topics of the moment. 

Facebook’s popularity originated with the 18-24 age group, which in 2009 represented about 40 percent of the users.  Today’s demographics are shifting toward the older population, with the 35-54 age group representing the bulk of the users at about 30 percent. 

Over the course of one year, Facebook’s membership has increased 149 percent from 42,809,200 users in February 2009 to 103,085,520 in February 2010. With its popularity soaring, users and organizations from around the world want to leverage this technology and media to promote what they have to offer.

Like you and millions of others, UTMB also sees tremendous potential with these services and understands that an opportunity exists to promote our institution, culture and activity through the eyes of faculty, staff and students.  

An example of an internet map.

Posting etiquette

While the use of social networking services is simple and straightforward, there are some things that might not be readily apparent, especially when it comes to promoting or discussing UTMB.

Here are some commonsense tips from both a personal and professional perspective that if used, will make your social networking experience a positive one.

First and foremost, think about what you’re posting.  Does it put you in a good light or is it something that could come back to haunt you.  Potential employers, schools and certain organizations have been known to look at social networking sites of potential prospects. If they looked at yours, would they find something favorable or would they just move on to the next candidate?

Once you post something to any social networking service, you’ve lost control of that content forever. Remember - even if your account has privacy settings activated, your information is never completely secure.

If you’re accessing and using social networking services during business hours, it must not impact your job performance or result in direct costs to UTMB.  Time can sometime get away from you while using these services.

If you identify yourself as being a member of UTMB, either through an announcement (Facebook actually has a networking category called UTMB Staff) or through the use of a UTMB email address, any comments made concerning UTMB related activities must be followed with a disclaimer stating that opinions expressed are yours and do not represent the views of UTMB.

Never post any confidential or proprietary information to any social networking service. That’s a given.

If you’re going to post images of UTMB related business activities and/or settings, make sure there’s no proprietary or confidential data included in the image and that the activities depicted are consistent with UTMB’s published policies.

Don’t post any copyrighted material without the expressed consent of the owner. This also includes the UT or UTMB logo.

If you make reference to UTMB, its faculty, staff, students, customers, partners or competitors, be respectful and truthful.

And of course, never post anything which could cause legal action against, or embarrass UTMB.

Remember – SecU-R-ITy