Smart Social Media
- Social Media, Blogging and Press Guidance
- Online Safety and Security
- How to Share Posts with ECA and the World
Social Media, Press and Blogging Guidance
With the growth of blogging and social networking sites in recent years, Fulbrighters have many opportunities to share their experiences. However, Fulbrighters should take adequate precaution when using social media tools to share personal information. As mentioned previously, keep in mind that some countries are particularly sensitive about photographs. For more information on restrictions of this kind it is always prudent to check with the Public Affairs Section, other U.S. Embassy staff or a local police officer.
Online Safety and Security
The U.S. Department of State also provides the following guidance regarding online safety and security. Although social media tools such as Facebook and Google+ have security settings to limit who is able to see certain information, these tools can still be hacked and misused and certain information can still be seen by people outside of approved circles or lists.
When traveling, it is good to keep some general social media safety and security tips in mind.
- Do not broadcast movements. Be aware of applications (apps) and programs that track and/or publish your current location without your consent or knowledge. Consider waiting to share photos and stories until after you have left a location.
- Do not post everything. Private information, such as your email address, residency or phone number, may not need to be shared with anyone, much less everyone.
- Use caution when new or unknown individuals ask to become connections.
- Use and check security settings. Security settings are helpful but not fail-proof.
- Protect passwords. Use strong password practices to help prevent people from hacking your accounts and change your passwords regularly.
- Respect the privacy of others--Ask other people for permission before using their names or publishing their photos, as they may have their own reasons for not wanting a public profile.
- Respect local laws and customs. While freedom of speech and expression is strongly protected in the U.S., please be aware of local laws in your host country. What is legally protected or deemed culturally acceptable in the United States (or, more specifically, on the Internet in the United States) may not be received similarly overseas.
Sharing Your Fulbright Experience with ECA and the World
While you are encouraged to take precaution, sharing your Fulbright stories can bring positive attention to the Fulbright Program’s impact and your host community as well. Your family and friends, as well as the public at home and abroad, will like hearing about your Fulbright adventure on Facebook and other social media platforms. The Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Institute of International Education have a variety of websites that regularly feature stories from Fulbrighters in the field. Recognizing the reach and impact of social media, the U.S. Department of State has provided these Fulbright Social Media Blogging Press Guidelines on social media and blogging.
While participants in all U.S. Department of State-sponsored academic exchange programs, including the Fulbright Program, have full academic and artistic freedom to write, publish and create, you are also expected to maintain a standard of conduct that is in keeping with the intent of the Fulbright Program – to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Any grantee who publicly posts inappropriate or offensive material on the Internet in relation to their program may be subject to revocation or termination of their grant. While freedom of speech and expression is strongly protected in the U.S., please be aware of local laws in your host country. What is legally protected or deemed culturally acceptable in the United States (or, more specifically, on the Internet in the United States) may not be received similarly overseas. Describing the challenges of living in a foreign country is fine, but please refrain from using disparaging language to describe the country you are in and the people with whom you live and work.
Blogging: For any personal blogs or websites with content related to your program, please include a disclaimer (suggested language below):
“[This site/blog (enter site’s title and address)] is not an official site of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of [its author/insert name here] and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.”
Press: During your grant, you may be asked to speak with local press about your experiences and perspectives. You are not required to speak to the press. If you would like to speak to the press, here are some basic guidelines for making use of media and press while you are on your grant:
- You can always say no. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to the media and press for ANY reason, simply say no.
- If you wish to speak to media and press, but you are concerned about certain privacy issues (you don’t want to have your face shown or your last name used), we can work with you and the news outlet to try and accommodate your needs.
- Please keep in mind that your remarks could have both positive and negative impact on your school, mentor teacher and the Fulbright Program so try to be constructive in all you say and stress that you are speaking not in an official capacity but from your own perspective.
- When in doubt, contact your Program Officer. They will be able to assist you with in-country media and press.
- Let us know if you receive media placement -- we love keeping track of how your grant is going, and we often feature your interviews, stories, etc. via our social media platforms.