Smart use of social media can benefit your studies, help you find employment, and enrich your personal and social life.
But there are also risks and dangers – from becoming a victim of identity theft to breaking the law yourself.
As a starting point to using social media safely and effectively, we recommend that you read the University's Student Charter and Student Code of Conduct. The code of conduct applies to your use of social media wherever you are identifiable as a Westminster student, and if you breach the code of conduct, our disciplinary procedure may be applied.
Whether you are on campus or off campus, offline or online, it's crucial that you show respect at all times to students, staff and people outside the University.
What are social media?
Social media are web-based services that allow you to communicate and network with others, and include:
- Wiki's and blogs
- Do think before you post. Your posts will be visible to anyone, anywhere and at anytime
- Do always be respectful and courteous
- Do read and adhere to the site's terms and conditions
- Do consider what personal details you provide, as you could expose yourself to identity theft
- Do use different passwords for different accounts
- Do manage your accounts' privacy settings and take control of who sees what
- Do create an employer-friendly online profile to strengthen your job applications. Prospective employers do often look at social media profiles when considering applications, and an active social media presence can demonstrate your interest and engagement in the profession/industry
- Do build a network. Following influential people and engaging in discussion may benefit your studies and future professional life
- Do manage your time effectively. Updating many social media accounts can be time-consuming, so consider using services that automatically post to different platforms
- Do encourage others to share your content by adding social share buttons to your online channels
- Do protect your intellectual property. For example, pictures you upload to social media may be used by the site for their own advertising – check the site's terms and conditions for details
- Do check the copyright of images and other content you post, before you post it
- Don't post anything online that you wouldn't say in public
- Don't post content that could be understood to be:
- Don't post defamatory content (content that may be untrue and that could harm the reputation of an individual or organisation)
Related policies, codes and legislation
In addition to the following key resources, have a look at the social networking tips and advice offered by the Get Safe Online website.
University policies and documents
- Student Code of Conduct
- Student Charter
- Acceptable Use of IT Policy
- Freedom of Speech Policy
- Diversity and Dignity at Work and Study Policy
- Unacceptable Behaviour Policy
There is a variety of civil and criminal legislation that may apply to social media use, including: