How To Use Social Media Effectively


Social Media Guidelines

You are what you Tweet! 

Social media can be fun and a great way to inform others about events, your views on a topic and keep in touch with people.  Use of social media can enhance your profile and maybe your job prospects, for example, some jobs are only advertised online or in social media sites.  However, social media can also cause you embarrassment, regret, legal problems (civil and criminal), difficulties with the University, and problems with current and future employers and friends and family. 

You do need to think about the implications of posting and publishing in various forms of social media, particularly if you are giving information about yourself or if you are talking about other people or posting strong opinions.

These guidelines apply to personal accounts as well as Keele student accounts.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do what you can to protect yourself.  Your post can be seen by people you know, but it can also be seen by tutors, the University, future employers and people or organisations you are posting about.  You may think that it’s OK to ‘rant’ to a ‘closed group’; it is safer to assume there is no such thing as a closed group, as you cannot control someone else forwarding your post.  What you say on Twitter to your followers can be viewed around the world instantly.  It might take seconds to post something, but it can remain on the internet indefinitely. 

Do re-read drafts before posting.  Whilst you reserve the right to free speech, social media is still exposed to scrutiny and laws.  Once you have posted something, it is difficult to take it back and can leave you defending legal action taken against you. 

Don’t just tick terms and conditions; if you are using a social media site, make sure you know their rules. 

Don’t post if you have had a drink; internet usage at Keele particularly busy between 1-2am.  Make sure that you aren’t drunk when you are writing comments online; it might not be so funny when you wake up. 

Don’t reveal too much about yourself online, check privacy settings and if in doubt, don’t post. 

Don’t assume there will be no implications of your posts.  If your post is in any way inflammatory, the University may investigate using their Regulations.  Your post may also contravene the policies of an organisation you want to, or currently work for/belong to.

Do be aware that posting on social media brings the potential of legal liability similar to that for the written and spoken word. Potential legal liabilities could include:


·  Libel/Defamation

·  Privacy and Consent

·  Harassment and Stalking

·  Malicious Communications

·  Common Law Assault


Do remember that anyone commenting about a case or defendant in a way that could prejudice a trial could be prosecuted for contempt and imprisoned.

Don’t try and set up a bogus account to post things you don’t want to put your name to – you will get found out. 

When you are tweeting/posting don’t say anything you wouldn’t say on television assume everything you say on social media is being said in a public forum.  Don’t post pictures that you don’t want the whole world seeing, as they probably can. 

Do assume that lecturers, work colleagues, future employers, family, University administration can see what you post.

If you are being bullied or harassed by someone through social media, don’t assume there’s nothing you can do about it, there aren’t (currently) laws covering cyberbullying specifically, but action can be taken internally by the University using a range of Regulations and there are laws which cover abusive behaviour.  In such cases either speak to a staff in the Student Support Centre (located on the ground floor of the Walter Moberly Building) or Advice & Support at Keele (ASK) in the Students’ Union. You can find out more at  An Adviser will be able to talk with you about your experience, offer advice on options available to you and explain formal procedures at the University which intend to support students who are experiencing bullying and/or harassment of any kind.

Don’t assume you know all about social media and that we have covered it here – the rules around social media are still evolving. 

Don’t be put off from using social media; it can help you find a job, just show employers how well you manage social media. 

If you are studying a professional course, there may also be additional guidelines that you need to follow.   Please read your School Handbook for additional guidance to avoid breaching professional standards in place in relation to your course.  

Useful contacts:

ASK, Advice & Support at Keele.  Advice & Support at Keele provides free, independent, impartial advice, information and representation to Keele students.  If you have any questions about social media, libel, harassment or anything related to the issues raised in this guidance, just ASK! Tel: 01782 734800

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping you to make the most of your Keele student experience.  Student Support and Development Services Tel: 01782 7 34481

Should you need further advice about social media account privacy and security you need to contact the IT Service Desk. Tel. 01782 7 33519

This is the really ‘useful links’ section, which is easy to ignore, but please have a look

Information about online safety

NUS Guidelines on social media

Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media