Social media guide for students

Social media is a great tool which allows you to socialise with friends and colleagues, share interesting content and make new connections. We encourage you to embrace it. 

However, when using social media, please think about the potential consequences of your actions online. These may affect your own, as well as Aston University’s reputation. Any information posted online has the potential of causing public embarrassment, hindrance to job applications, and more seriously even police investigation, defamation claims and breaches of University policy, and consequent disciplinary action.

You may already be aware of what you should and shouldn't do on social media, but here is a reminder of the things to consider when using it.

Top tips

Think twice

Although social media is easy and instant, think twice about what you are posting, especially if controversial or embarrassing. Some social media platforms store content for an indefinite period of time and there is also the risk of your content resurfacing at some point in the future. 

Any content or media posted to social media has the potential to reach a wider audience than expected. Once content has been shared online, the user will have limited control over its audience and lifespan.

Rules and policies

Make sure you are familiar with the University’s rules and policies, so you do not breach them. The same applies to third party terms and conditions (e.g.: Facebook, Twitter etc.). 

Posting about individuals 

Think carefully about what you are posting about other people. Even if you post anonymously, it could still be traced back to you.

Online and offline bahaviour

Think about how conduct yourself in real life, and apply the same principles to social media. If your social media content is drawn to our attention, we may take action to protect the University’s reputation, staff and students. See our Regulations for the Use of University ICT Facilities for guidance on what might constitute inappropriate content.

Using social media while drunk 

Using social media under the influence of alcohol is never a good idea, as your judgement may be impaired. 

Copyright

Ensure the content (e.g.: text, image and video) you post online is your own. Don’t assume you can copy content, as you may be infringing someone’s copyright. 

Any third-party material (media or content that does not belong to the person posting) that is posted to social media should be credited appropriately. For example, if an image is shared on Twitter, their social media handle should be used to credit them. 

Private groups and direct messages

When using private groups and direct messages (such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc.), don't assume the content shared is private. All social content, whether public or private, may be legally treated as public and should therefore not be considered confidential. We also encourage students to be considerate towards other members of the group. 

Security

Make sure you don't share your password with anyone. Check your social media accounts regularly to make sure no one has hacked into them and is posting inappropriate and unauthorised content in your name.

Unacceptable content

The following list is, but not limited to, content considered to be of an unacceptable nature and should never by posted:

  • Confidential information, which may include research not yet in the public domain, information about fellow students or staff or personal matters, non-public or not yet approved documents or information.
  • Details of current or potential complaints and/or current of potential legal proceedings involving Aston University.
  • Personal information about another individual, including their contact information. This can be only be given out online with the individual’s express written permission.
  • Using fake social media accounts, false personas or another person’s name to post comments of a sensitive or malicious nature. Another person’s name can only be used with their written consent.
  • Inappropriate material, including content and media (images/videos or graphics), that is, or may be perceived to be, threatening, harassing, discriminatory, illegal, obscene, indecent, defamatory, or hostile towards any individual, group or entity.
  • Any other social media posts that constitute, or may constitute, a criminal offence.
  • Anything which may bring Aston University into disrepute, or compromise the safety or reputation of colleagues, former colleagues, students, staff and those connected with Aston University.

Cyber bullying 

Cyber Bullying is defined as the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.

Aston University will not accept any form of bullying or harassment of staff, students or stakeholders. Aston University will also not accept any form of bullying or harassment by staff, students or stakeholders.

The following non-exhaustive list of examples are the types of behaviour, displayed through social media, which Aston University considers to be forms of cyber bullying:

  • Maliciously, negligently or recklessly spreading rumours, lies or gossip.
  • Intimidating or aggressive behaviour, which is deemed so by those viewing the content on social media.
  • Offensive or threatening comments or content, which is deemed so by those viewing the content on social media.
  • Posting media or content which deliberately, negligently or recklessly mocks an individual from or associated with Aston University, with the potential to harass or humiliate them, which is deemed so by those viewing the content on social media.

Cyber bullying may also take place via other means of electronic communication such as email, text or instant messaging.

Questions?

Please contact Digital Marketing (email social@aston.ac.uk or a.groza@aston.ac.uk) if you need help, want to ask any questions about using social media, or would like to raise any issues or concerns.