Personal Use of Social Media
While UMHS does not seek to restrict your personal use of social media, or your access to social networking sites online, you should be aware of how you portray yourself online and how your use of these platforms during work hours may impact your ability to perform your duties.
In addition, information shared online about you, whether by you or someone in your personal network, can be retrieved forever. It is always a good idea to be aware of potential risks and pitfalls as you proceed.
The rule of thumb is once it's posted online, it's housed in a database and can be retrieved by anyone with access, even after you've deleted it. It goes without saying that you should always think before you post.
Do not misrepresent yourself or UMHS
Your online activity should not falsely give the impression that you are acting on behalf of the UMHS or the University. Examples of things to avoid that might otherwise constitute a misrepresentation include:
- Posting pictures of yourself wearing a UMHS lab coat or behaving inappropriately while wearing work-issued scrubs with the UMHS logo.
- Endorsing a product, political issue or other form of endorsement on behalf of UM and/or UMHS
When on-line, you are speaking in your personal capacity unless you have been given prior approval from your manager or another UMHS representative (e.g., Public Relations & Marketing Communications) to speak for UMHS.
Disclaim, disclaim, disclaim!
You have a right to your opinions and to share them. So if you do choose to blog, tweet or Facebook, and you do identify yourself as a UMHS employee, be sure to post a disclaimer, such as:
"The views and opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of the University of Michigan Health System, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes."
That way, readers of your posts understand you are not speaking on behalf of UMHS, as do your employers.
Refrain from sharing patient info
Refrain from publicly sharing information about our patients through online forums, including news commenting sites. This includes all patient interactions and observations that occur through the course of your job.
Be aware of your legal responsibilities - you are responsible for the content you post
You may be held responsible for what you post. Libel, copyright infringement and defamation are just as egregious on the web as they are in print or in broadcast.
Ensure that Your Social Networking Activity Does Not Interfere With Your Work Commitments
While UMHS does not block access to social networking sites, many units/departments forbid the use of them while working. Check with your supervisor if you don’t know your specific unit or department policy.
Review the UMHS Social Media Participation Guidelines for more information.
For more on this topic, read the following:
- What's in a social media background check? (Gizmodo)
- Search the Wayback Machine for old Web sites you thought didn't exist anymore!
- Wall Street Journal Tech: Bloggers, Beware: What You Write Can Get You Sued
- When medical students post patient pictures (NYTimes)
- Managing your online reputation (Mashable)