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Social Media Guidelines

All Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, staff and students should follow these guidelines on how to participate in social media in positive, meaningful ways that reflect well on our faculty and the medical school. MD students should also review the policies listed on the MD student Social Media Policy and Guidelines page

These guidelines apply to scientists and clinicians with individual public social media profiles outside official university profiles. The medical school encourages investigator engagement with social media as a means to educate the public about science, build a network of scholars and trainees, and help journalists and writers cover your area of research.

If you have any questions about your online presence, please submit a request for assistance and be sure to take a look at our official Feinberg social media accounts for inspiration.

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Our Guidelines

  • Be responsible and informed: Any published content or accounts are subject to the policies of the University.
  • Be transparent: Avoid screen names or anonymity. Identifying yourself can provide authenticity and value to your online contributions.
  • Be respectful: Carry the professional norms of any Feinberg office or function onto the social media platforms. Encourage feedback and two-way communication.
  • Be generous: Share links and allow others to contribute content. It will, in turn, increase the likelihood that others will link to you, increasing the number of eyes on your content and helping you strengthen group membership.
  • Respect others’ privacy: Do not reveal other people’s private information. Avoid tagging photos with individuals’ names without approval.
  • Add value: Contribute your observations, experiences and opinions related to topics you are passionate about and understand well. Cite your sources, and separate opinions from facts.
  • Aim for quality: Think about what you want to say before you post your comments. Make your content rich and interesting for others to read and share.
  • Be mindful of context: Don’t risk people taking incomplete thoughts out of context. If you can’t express your full thought in a tweet, use the tweet to drive traffic to a blog post where you can elaborate with as much detail as needed.
  • Use disclaimers: Make it clear that the views you are expressing are yours alone and not necessarily those of Feinberg. What you write is ultimately your responsibility. If you choose to identify yourself as a Feinberg employee or discuss topics related to the medical school through any social media channels, make it clear that you do not speak on behalf of our organization.
  • Follow copyright laws: Show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others. For additional information, refer to Northwestern University Library’s Copyright Basics and the U.S. copyright office.
  • Let the experts respond: If you come across complaints about the school or instances that might be considered a crisis situation (e.g., a crime or accident related to a student or campus) via a social media platform, please bring it to the attention of Nicole Mladic, executive director of the Office of Communications. She will assess the situation and, when necessary, arrange for the subject matter expert respond to the post. Please do not respond on the school’s behalf.
  • Publish smart: Post to the height of your intelligence and with full knowledge that Google never forgets.
  • Ask for advice: Unsure if a post is appropriate? Ask the Office of Communications for assistance. Feinberg does not endorse or take responsibility for content posted by third parties, and the Office of Communications does not review content prior to posting unless asked to provide feedback. The office does, however, reserve the right to remove or edit content that diminishes the reputation of or communicates inaccurate information about the medical school.
  • Feed it: Once you establish a social media presence, especially if you are doing so as a representative of Feinberg (e.g., on a department’s Facebook page), you need to invest time in publishing useful content and responding to user comments.