Social media guidelines
If you are an Institution employee or member creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks or any other kind of social media – these guidelines are for you.
We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of the Institution to understand and follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk and where the Institution has administration rights, your contributions may be deleted. These guidelines are likely to be updated in the future – please check here for revisions.
Online media forms
The Institution of Structural Engineers currently has involvement with the following online media:
- Corporate website
- The Construction Network (tCn)
Rules of Engagement
The Institution would like to encourage our employees, members at all levels, and the wider public to engage in our online media facilities. The Institution recognises that the use of online media such as discussion forums and social networking sites can be informative in relation to professional areas and developing working relationships. We have therefore set out some simple rules of engagement to help you.
Openness and transparency
It is important to be open and transparent in order to build up trust with your audience. When you use online media you should clearly identify yourself using your real name and, if relevant, state your association with the Institution. If you are producing content on behalf of the Institution you must not remain anonymous. You should always check facts before publishing content online and not mislead your audience in anyway.
Speak in first person and be yourself. Using an approachable tone and conveying your own personality can really help to encourage interaction between you and the audience.
Remember that there are consequences to what you publish. There may be times where you feel something has been misrepresented. If you need to correct the content of another user please do so with respect and keep to the facts. If you feel even remotely uncomfortable with something you are about to publish try to identify why or seek advice.
Be mindful of the fact that any content that you publish will be in the public domain and in some cases will remain public for a long time. You are personally responsible for any content that you publish. Be aware that your content may provoke a response and be open to the opinions of others.
If you publish content which you later recognise as inaccurate or someone informs you that it is inaccurate, be honest about your mistake and correct it as soon as possible. Always include a correction statement to prevent the audience from thinking you have attempted to ‘cover up’ a mistake.
Representing the Institution
Use a disclaimer which explains that content is your personal opinion and does not represent the views of Institution. For example: ‘the postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the Institution’s position’. Do not use Institution logos or trademarks without approval. You are welcome to contact the Institution to review information you would like to publish or ask to use our branding if you think it would benefit your content.
Protect yourself and the confidentiality of others and the Institution. While you should be identifiable you must protect your privacy and personal details. You should have consideration for the privacy of others and not disclose personal information about another user. Never discuss Institution business performance – this includes: discussing future business plans, unannounced strategies and financial analysis. If you are unsure of a particular subject you should review what you are about to publish or seek advice.
Protect clients, partners and suppliers
You must not cite or reference your clients, partners or suppliers without their approval. If you have permission to discuss matters relating to a client, partner or supplier you must not reveal confidential information. It is acceptable to discuss general details of a project if you protect anonymity and ensure you do not violate any non-disclosure agreements. You can disguise a partner’s identity for example by saying ‘Partner 001’.
Do not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the work place. Avoid inflammatory subject areas – such as politics and religion.
Provide informative content and interesting perspectives. The Institution and structural engineering industry is best represented by its people. When you decide to contribute to an online media resource you are deciding to be an ambassador for the Institution and even the wider structural engineering community. When you are producing content always consider how your information will improve knowledge, build on ideas and help to problem solve.
The Institution has a responsibility to monitor and review all content that is associated with the organisation or posted on its behalf. If the Institution identifies content which is not in line with these guidelines it has a right to either a) delete content where it has administration rights on the specific site or b) demand the removal of content. Where content is deleted a correction notice will be published.
If you as user identify potentially damaging or content that is in breach of the guidelines please contact the Institution [link].
Potential legal issues
The Institution cannot provide legal advice in relation to using online media. However there are a number of legal areas to keep in mind when using online media on behalf of the Institution:
- consumer protection from unfair trading regulations 2008
- intellectual property
- disclosure / confidentiality
- invasion of privacy
N.B. The Institution of Structural Engineers accepts no liability for legal breaches of individual users. Content published by those associated with the Institution are fully accountable for their own actions.
If you are unsure or have questions relating to the use of online media please contact the Institution. You may also find external guidance useful: