Social Computing Guidelines

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Office of Instructional Technology and Design / Help Desk

May 15, 2014

Social Computing Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to offer helpful procedures for ITD/HD staff members.  The GSLIS ITD/HD is invested in exploring and examining responsible interactions, idea exchanges, and information provision.  The guidelines below aim to create best practices for a thoughtful sphere of participation as it relates to learning and development within social interactions, including online spheres such as on Facebook, Twitter, and the Team Awesome blog, in addition to physical spaces such as at the Help Desk.

In the interest of promoting thoughtful awareness in learning, contributing, and growing:

  1. Know and follow appropriate business conduct according to the University of Illinois (in conjunction with the statement of values held by university policy).
  2. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy and take care to understand a site’s terms of service.
  3. Identify yourself—name and role, when relevant—when you discuss ITD/HD related matters, such as GSLIS tutorials, workshops, and services.
  4. Respect copyright, fair use, and financial disclosure laws.
  5. Do not provide ITD/HD’s or a client’s, partner’s, or colleague’s confidential or other proprietary information, and never discuss ITD/HD sensitive matters about clients, issues, or plans publicly (Please see FERPA).
  6. Do not cite, reference, or quote a client, partner, or colleague without approval.
  7. Respect your audience.  Do not use ethnic slurs, discriminatory remarks, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any similar conduct that would not be appropriate or acceptable in the ITD/HD workplace.  You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy.
  8. Be aware of your association with the ITD/HD in online social networks.  If you identify yourself as a staff member of the ITD/HD, ensure that your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with colleagues and clients.
  9. Spirited and passionate discussions and debates are fine, but you should be respectful of others and their opinions.  Be the first to correct your own mistakes.
  10. Try to add value.  Provide worthwhile information and perspective.  The services and culture of the ITD/HD are best represented by their people, and what you publish reflects this.
  11. Use your best judgment in the message that you are sending and the way in which you express it.  This includes all forms of media, such as text, images, videos, and recordings.
  12. Be who you are.  Transparency and honesty are important, but ensure that you consider content carefully and are judicious in what you disclose.
  13. Don’t forget your day job.  Make sure that your online activities do not interfere with performing your job responsibilities or commitments to clients and patrons.

You are personally responsible for the content that you publish online.  When the ITD/HD wishes to communicate publicly, it has well-established means to do so, and official communication should come through these channels by those who are authorized to do so.

At the GSLIS ITD/HD, we support open dialogue and the exchange of ideas with trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.  These guidelines will be reviewed periodically so that they may evolve to reflect emerging technologies and other social tools.  Social computing interactions foster collaboration but must be engaged with responsibly, respectfully, and mindful of not only community values but also general social presence.


This document was created on May 2, 2014 by Andrea Gannon with the assistance of the IBM Social Computing Guidelines and Yahoo! Personal Blog Guidelines 1.0.

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