Practicalities for the USI community

Social media: USI staff’s guidelines

1. Confidentiality and protection of the image of USI

Social media are public places: to spread on social media classified or confidential information on USI or colleagues is a breach of the obligation to the diligence, confidentiality and loyalty to the employer set out in the Code of Obligations (Art. 321a). We also kindly invite you not to share contents that might adversely affect in some way the image or reputation of USI, and to ensure that the use of social media during work hours does not interfere with the performance of their duties.

 

2. Professional opportunities

Social media represent a great opportunity to spread a positive image of the University and of what happens at USI. Therefore we invite you to use your personal profile as a channel for the expression of your professional skills. However, the official opinions and statements of USI are released on social media exclusively through the official profiles (for each USI entity), and in particular through the corporate channels (for USI as institutions).

 

3. Connection with USI and its image

In the world of social media is not always possible to draw a clear demarcation between public and private sphere. As employees of the University, particularly if you are prominent profiles (e.g. professors), you convey to some extent also the public image of the University, and you will always be likely to be linked to the University: the opinions you express as a private citizen might therefore be tied to your public role and to USI, even for an adversarial purpose. Conversely, your private profile might be exploited to argue against you as a professional, such as against USI in general.

In respect for individual freedom and appreciating transparency, we kindly invite you to exercise caution in contents and forms of your posts, in order not to offend the sensibilities of a public which goes far beyond your private friendships: from share to share, content can easily exceed the circle of acquaintances and privacy settings, remaining on the Net for a potentially unlimited period of time. In some cases, especially if you express yourself on controversial or sensitive issues, it may be useful to point out explicitly that you are expressing a personal opinion as a private citizen (and, therefore, such an opinion cannot be attributed to you in the function of your role).

It might be useful to keep in mind one of television golden rules: don't say anything you will not be willing to say during an interview on tv while speaking in the name of the entity represented.  Social media are in fact public places and to express themselves through an official channel has the same value as taking a public stand.

If your profile was the subject of controversy or attacks against you or against you as professionals or against USI in general, please contact the USI Media and Communication Service (press@usi.ch, +41 58 666 47 92) to develop the most appropriate strategy.

 

3.1 Private life and professional life

To mitigate the potential inconvenience of the overlap between public and private, it is possible to make a clear separation between the professional presence on social media and the private one, for example with a description that explicitly indicates your profile, and the contents here expressed, as purely personal. Conversely, you might also report that your social media presence is guided by a purely scientific interest, and that the shared content does not necessarily reflect a personal opinion of yours or of USI.

This separation between the public and private sphere is not always easy or even possible: however, it may be useful to be aware that contents which are suitable for your personal friends are not necessarily suitable for your colleagues or other audiences (actual or potential).

 

4. Transparency

If you take part to discussions regarding USI, it would be appropriate to point out your connection with USI: transparency is in fact a way to give strength and credibility to your argumentations.

 

5. We are here for you
For any question, doubt, request, problem or alert related to the presence of USI or its employees on social media, you can contact us by writing to socialmedia@usi.ch or by calling +41 58 666 47 95. We are pleased to offer our support.

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Updated on: 15/10/2019