Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) is an effective means of communicating and publicising our science to the broader community and to other scientists within and beyond our immediate networks. Our broad aim with our social media network is to become a trusted voice in the space of climate extremes by highlighting our research, activities and engaging constructively with the public, stakeholders, peer networks and other communities of interest.
However, unlike legacy media it’s not so much a broadcast outlet but is, as the name implies, a tool for social engagement with a specific strength for building online communities. To be most effective it requires us to focus on the audience we want to cultivate at the Centre and to engage in conversations with that audience through our social media channels using language that interests and engages them. This means curating our feeds (followers, retweets etc) with specific audiences in mind and establishing our expertise by engaging with that audience in a way that highlights the Centre’s authoritative position in our field.
This higher level of direct engagement with individuals and institutions, the instant nature of the medium, along with its broad reach and permanence has the potential to put at risk the reputation of the Centre, its researchers and its key stakeholders. This policy offers guidance to minimise those risks while still allowing us to engage with our audiences to grow our authoritative position and our number of specifically targeted followers.
Please note, this document is specific to social media. It doesn’t cover other means of communication, such as Centre position statement documents.
Official CLEX feeds
These represent the public face of our Centre and should be used primarily to publicise our research and researchers, and secondarily to help share and acknowledge the research and activities of our partners and stakeholders.
Appropriate use of the official CLEX feeds may include:
- Sharing (our own or external) media releases about Centre research
- Publicising papers when they appear (e.g., tweeting about papers)
- Sharing stories or images of our researchers in action (e.g., at conferences, in the field)
- Sharing good-news stories about our Centre or its researchers (e.g., awards, grants, graduations, etc.).
- Sharing articles in the media that quote Centre researchers
- Announcing or advertising Centre events or opportunities
- Sharing relevant events, news items, media releases, etc. associated with our Partners
Inappropriate use of the official CLEX feed may include:
- Any comment or post deemed offensive or inappropriate that could damage the reputation of the Centre, its researchers, our Universities, our partners or the ARC.
- Direct criticism of government policy, government departments, or the ARC
- Inappropriate jokes or comments that could potentially be misconstrued or offend
- Engagement in arguments, including with members of the public. Don’t feed the trolls
If we notice inappropriate tweets from people we follow are appearing on our direct feed, we will stop following them or block them entirely.
Individual / Personal Social Media Feeds
Centre researchers are encouraged to share posts from the official CLEX feeds and to highlight CLEX activities in their individual / personal social media feeds where they feel this is appropriate.
Centre researchers are all protected by the right to academic freedom provided by their institutions. Yet, they should be aware that their activity on social media has the potential to negatively affect their reputation or the reputation of the Centre and the ARC. It is also worth noting that social media is regarded by law as a publication platform and therefore comments on these mediums do fall under the defamation act. Some recommendations to minimise risks:
- Personal social media accounts should clearly state that comments are personal opinions only and do not represent those of their employer, the Centre, or funding bodies
- Inappropriate or offensive posts should be avoided, including sharing those posts, as should behaviour interpreted as ‘trolling’
- Individuals should make themselves aware of their own University’s code of conduct and social media policy and be aware that behaviour on social media that violates those policies can result in disciplinary action
- Individuals should think carefully about the potential impact (to their careers or the Centre) of direct criticisms of individuals (including politicians), our partners, government departments, or the ARC