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About this portal

This portal was created by the Faculty of Education, UBC to provide practical social media tips to its community. Members of the Faculty of Education are welcome to enhance this page or ask questions on the Discussion page. If you want to add to this page, but aren't sure how, this quick tutorial on using UBC Wiki may be helpful.

Social Media Guidelines

The latest version of the Faculty of Education social media guidelines can be downloaded here (PDF). If you would like to make a suggestion or comment on the guidelines, contact the social media group.

Three Themes of SM Use

  • Faculty: Pedagogy/Research
  • Staff: Marketing, Administrative
  • Students: Learning/Research/Networking

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Don't forget—copyright applies online. If you share an image, make sure it is not copyrighted or that reproduction is allowed. Give sources of your information, where applicable.

UBC respects the intellectual property rights of others and requires that employees do the same. Never post anything that belongs to someone else, including written, video, photographic, and audio materials. Keep in mind that in many cases, content posted to social media sites becomes the property of the platform operator. For this reason, a social media site should never replace a university unit’s or faculty’s website as its official online presence. One way to protect UBC’s intellectual property is to post images at resolutions suitable only for online viewing, or with a watermark. Finally, keep in mind that images and other information posted on social media sites can easily be appropriated by others in ways you may not intend. If you believe that your work has been copied and is accessible on a site in a way that may constitute copyright infringement, please contact the Office of the University Counsel. ([1])


UBC is required to protect personal information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Never share personal information about identifiable individuals without their written permission. For example, the names, admissions information, and grades of UBC students must not be released. ([[2]])

Online Account Security

User accounts, including passwords, stored by social media sites are vulnerable to being hacked, stolen, or exposed. If this happens, the impact will be minimized by:

  • using a unique password for every site
  • using a strong password (e.g., 10 characters or more, not a dictionary word, etc.)

For more information about IT security, refer to UBC guidelines and policies:

Account Name Guidelines

UBC accounts on social media sites should follow the Channel Naming Conventions.

You may consider creating your unit's account on multiple social media sites to reserve the account name, even if you don't intend to use it presently.

Before Getting Started

Think about what you want to accomplish through social media. Once you have clearly stated your goals, consider what audiences you want to reach. This will help you choose an appropriate channel.

Review the Faculty of Education an UBC social media guidelines. Decide how you will measure success, value, and impact (e.g., consider using analytics to track web hits). Plan who in your unit will be responsible for maintaining the social media activities.

Practical Tips for Specific Social Media Services

Social Media Explained with Donuts
Social Media Explained with Donuts, by Douglas Wray

UBC Blogs and UBC Wiki are the only services on this list that are non-commercial and owned by UBC. Anyone with a UBC Campus-Wide Login can create and edit content.

Blogs and UBC Blogs (WordPress)

Blogs often have longer, carefully written articles on a subject. Because of the length of content, they are updated less frequently. Anyone with a CWL can create a UBC blog. Many students create blogs and some are popular. Mix of formal and informal content. Other free blog hosting platforms exist; for example, Blogger.

UBC Wiki

Think of UBC Wiki as "Wikipedia for UBC." Anybody with a CWL can create and edit content. Useful for collaborative document development. Three main spaces are general info, course material, and documentation.


Short updates limited to 140 characters. People follow your account. Popular in business and celebrities. Retweet to share what you find interesting. Attract followers and reply to questions; engage the audience. Learn how to set up an account and customize your page video

  • Old news is no news: Twitter emphasizes real-time information, so information rapidly gets stale. Followers quickly get bored of even relatively fresh links seen multiple times.
  • Contribute to the story: To keep people interested, add an opinion, a pertinent fact or otherwise add to the conversation before hitting “send” on a retweet.
  • Keep it short: Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters, but followers still appreciate conciseness. Using as few characters as possible also leaves room for longer, more satisfying comments on retweets.
  • Limit Twitter-specific syntax: Overuse of #hashtags, @mentions and abbreviations makes tweets hard to read. But some syntax is helpful; if posing a question, adding a hashtag helps everyone follow along.
  • Keep it to yourself: The clichéd “sandwich” tweets about pedestrian, personal details were largely disliked. Reviewers reserved a special hatred for Foursquare location check-ins.
  • Provide context: Tweets that are too short leave readers unable to understand their meaning. Simply linking to a blog or photo, without giving readers a reason to click on it, was described as “lame.”
  • Don’t whine: Negative sentiments and complaints were disliked.
  • Be a tease: News or professional organizations that want readers to click on their links need to hook the reader, not give away all of the news in the tweet itself.

Source: [1]


Posts can be very long but tend to be brief. Groups can be created. Concept of "friends," but be careful whom you friend from a UBC account.


An open, public blogging and networking platform.



Service for publicly posting photos.


Post and share photos online, link with Facebook or Twitter, apply filter effects. Beginner's Guide (Mashable)


Make an account and "pin" interesting photos to your stream. Visual. Hobbies, shopping. Conspicuous consumption. Potential for pedagogical use.


Post videos. Embed on your site. Track view count.

The videos you post can be made private (only the account owner can view them), unlisted (you can share the video by its URL) or public (available to anybody). Public videos allow your content to be discovered and viewed by interested parties who search by keywords, subject, and so on.

When filming a guest speaker, lecturer, alumnus, or other, have the subject sign a consent to use of image form, and keep the form on file.


A resume, career history, and professional networking site.


Facebook for business. Bought by Microsoft in 2012.


A networking site similar to Facebook, with the concepts of feeds and "circles," or grouped contacts. Supports features such as group chats and group video conferencing.

Nameplate Sites,, zerply,, unnamed UBC project

Real World Examples

FoE social media streams

Capture yours here. See also UBC YouTube Accounts.

Unit/Department Facebook Twitter Blog YouTube Flickr Other Administrator(s)
EPLT EPLT on FB EPLT_UBC EPLT Online UBCeplt Down the Hall (Podcast) Dave Roy, Jenny van Enckevort
Faculty of Education FoE on FB FoE on Twitter ubceducation TBD
Department of Educational Studies (EDST) edstubc edstStudents edstubc edstubc
Teacher Education Office (TEO) UBCTeacherEd @UBCTeacherED TEO Blog TEO-UBC NITEP_UBC (Flickr) Julie Oya

Notable UBC social media streams

  • Well-developed content and features (e.g., Health Hero, Food of the Month)
  • Consistent voice, personable/professional
  • Consistent maintenance (weekly updates)
  • Quite successful participation level
  • Very successful branding tied to Arts' website and print design
  • Frequently updated with new posts
  • Over 3,400 followers. Participation?

For more, see UBC_YouTube_Accounts, UBC_Facebook_Accounts, UBC_Twitter_Accounts, UBC_Flickr_Accounts

Notable external social media streams

  • Add comments?

Social Media Tools

Tools for: Brand recognition

Faculty of Education personnel may use artwork saved on the local network drive. Contact Jenny van Enckevort if you require access.

Expand with tips on branding various SM feeds

UBC Brand Resources (Public Affairs)

Social Media Avatar Templates

Tools for: Audience identification

  • Pending development

Tools for: Developing content

  • Search Flickr for Creative Commons–licensed photos that you can use in your own work
  • LTS has still and video camera equipment available for loan to FoE staff/faculty
    • be sure to have a Consent to Use of Image form signed and on file
  • What is important to communicate:
    • events
    • talks
    • book releases and other publications
    • defenses
    • faculty appointments
    • new initiatives
    • impact on community
    • awards, grants

Tools for: Embedding Social Media Feeds

Some social media tools allow you to embed widgets on your own website. These widgets can be customized to show various content, but normally can display the most recent items from your own news feed. This can help users who do not want to join a social network to follow the news from your site, and make your site look more active and current.

UBC Resources

Social Media News

  • examples

Issues to consider

  • Separating personal and academic/professional use of SM
  • How to decide whether to participate in social media
    • How do you measure success, value, impact?
    • analytics - basic hit count available in most social media
  • Cautionary tales - risks
  • Account ownership and access - policies on recording account names and passwords (e.g., departmental vs. person-based accounts; partly covered by UBC IT policies on use of accounts)
  • What content is important to communicate?
    • Consider piloting FoE hashtag to capture relevant, professional, educational announcements about FoE initiatives - for eventual syndication to CoolSign and FoE website
  • Writing style and voice constraints on different channels