Social media

Social media continues to be a major focus and growing component of the web, with more users signing up every day for the websites and applications as new platforms are developed. Social media presents an opportunity for additional channels through which FSS can reach students, staff, and alumni with promotion of news, publications, programs and other resources. In addition to disseminating information, social media offers the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and form online communities.

The Faculty of Social Sciences currently utilizes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as our primary social media platforms. We continue to monitor new technologies and adopting those that fit our communications needs. The Faculty also uses YouTube.

These social media guidelines pertain to the professional interests as a faculty or staff member of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences and how we represent the university. This document does not address publishing or regulating personal content on privately maintained social media platforms. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about how these social media guidelines fit with your unit’s communications plan, or if you have questions about the university-wide policies.

It is important to note that a social media strategy shouldn’t stand on its own; it should be part of your department’s overall integrated marketing and communications plan. Consider social media a vehicle, not the destination.

Question to ask before embarking on social media (creating accounts etc.)

  • How can social media help us meet (and exceed) our goals?
  • Is social media the appropriate channel for reaching our audience(s)?
  • Who are our audiences and do they use social media? How do they use it?
  • Which platforms or tools will be most effective? Why?

Any activity within the FSS social media outlets should and will follow the following guidelines:

  • Be authentic (nothing but the truth . . .  transparency is the best policy)
  • Listen to fans/followers
  • Respond to comments and questions
  • Converse naturally with fans/followers
  • Provide content that focuses on quality over quantity

What about bilingualism and social media?

The University of Ottawa recommends fostering a bilingual online community by uniting French and English communications around a single account. As a general guideline, content that has been created by support staff in an official capacity intended for broadcasting to an audience on Twitter or Facebook should be broadcast in both official languages. Due to Twitter’s character limitations, it is usually not possible to fit both languages into one tweet, therefore two separate tweets is the preferred method of tweeting bilingually. In cases where a single tweet is used, operators should consider using the forced line return when inputting messages on to separate English and French content.

Efforts will be made to ensure the content of the tweets are consistent and of similar quality in both languages, however, due to the nature of social media and the character limitations on tweets, this may not always be possible. Abbreviations for particular terms may be used in order to increase the amount of information that can be contained within a single tweet. Our staff members are suggested to send tweets separate tweets in French and English at approximately the same time to ensure availability of information.

It is important to note that in some cases, content may be specifically directed to speakers of one of the two official languages and will not be translated. For example, certain events held in only one language may be tweeted only in that language and certain accounts, such as uOttawa’s French Immersion program’s account, @uOttawaFI, are targeted at a specific language group and will tweet primarily in one language. Any replies or direct messages will be considered targeted person-to-person communications and will be sent in the same language as the original message from the targeted account.

All automatic or manual Retweets are sent in their original language and we are not responsible for translating user-generated content or the quality of the language in any content we Retweet. If possible, operators will attempt to locate a similar tweet in the other official language to Retweet. Also, operators will work to ensure a balance of French and English Retweets by monitoring keywords used in both languages; however, due to availability of content on Twitter, this may not always be possible.

Text within the bio section of the Twitter profile and the description section of any created lists should be in both languages. The link that is included in the profile should be to a language-redirect landing page that allows the user to choose their language. If no such page is available, a second, shortened link should be included in the bio with language indicated in front of the link (EN or FR). For example, see @uOttawaResearch.

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