Social media is defined as the websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information, opinions, and to develop social and professional contacts. Examples of such websites include, but are not limited to:
The goal of this resource is not to forbid and censure the use of social media websites, but to provide intelligent and reasonable guidelines in their usage. There are many positive outcomes in the use of social media websites in gaining valuable and beneficial connections, along with maintaining established connections over the years. However, there are potential consequences from the misuse and abuse of these websites and forums. The following guidelines are based on the principles of how a Gentleman, Scholar, and Jolly-good fellow should approach the use of social media in these modern times.
Members should always think carefully before posting anything to social media websites and forums. Most, if not all, social media websites are open for all to see and it is extremely difficult if not impossible to remove a post completely. Carefully consider the content, tone, and potential effect your post may have and ask if it would be detrimental to you, your family, or your chapter. The individual is held responsible for what they post online and will be held responsible for inappropriate, derogatory, insensitive, and threatening content. The chapter holds the right to punish any member for inappropriate actions on social medial up to membership review. If there is any doubt about the content of your post, it’s always better to not post at all or ask a member of your executive council before posting.
Members should always act appropriately when posting online. Our values and ritual expect that we conduct ourselves as gentlemen. Because online tone can be interpreted in different ways by readers, members should not engage in any online conduct that would not be acceptable in a place of employment; including derogatory, discriminating or stereotypical remarks, threats, intimidation, harassment, insults, slander, defamation or pornography. It is also wise to remember that just because you post in a private forum that does not mean it will always remain private.
When posting anything online, members should always be fair, courteous and respectful to brothers, new members, fellow students, campus officials, alumni, and other members of the general public. Members should demonstrate proper respect for the privacy of others. If a member decides to post a complaint or criticisms, the member should avoid using any statements, photographs, and video or audio that may be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening, harassing or abusive to others. Members should always be accurate and honest in posting any news or information to social media and quickly correct any mistakes or errors.
All chapter-related social media accounts and related postings maintained by members for marketing, networking and/or public relations purposes remain the property of the Chapter at all times. An individual should never use these accounts for personal use under any circumstance. No member has the right to use the account after the end of the appointed term and only the Chapter (via the executive council) is permitted to change account names and settings. Social media accounts are a useful and quick way to promote, and inform chapter activities to the chapter, school, and public. However, the chapter accounts should never be used to support:
ONLY the current social media chair or the current executive council should have the ability and authority to post to chapter run social media accounts. An individual member does not have the authorization to speak on behalf of the fraternity unless given permission from the current executive council. Former executive council members, and social media chairs should never post to their chapter’s accounts after their term has ended. If the Chapter is the subject of content posted online, the member should make it clear that the views posted do not represent or reflect the views of the Chapter or other members.
Chapters and members should always be mindful that chapter and fraternity rituals, and secrets, and individual member’s personal information should never be discussed or posted onto social media sites. Members should also be careful to comply with all copyright, trademark and intellectual property laws.
Members can be legally liable for what is written or posted online. The Chapter also reserves the right to discipline members, up to and including membership review, for any commentary, content or images that are pornographic, harassing, and libelous or for anything that creates a hostile environment based on race, sex, religion or any other protected class.
It is always best to think carefully about the benefits and costs of any post to social media sites. If there is ever any doubt a chapter or individual should consult their executive council or chapter consultant for advice and guidance. The best question to ask yourself before posting is if this is a good representation of myself as a Gentlemen, Scholar, and Jolly-good Fellow.