HSTA Social Networking Guidelines

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) believes in nurturing a thriving online community and supports social networking as a valuable component of shared media. HSTA’s Social Networking Guidelines have been developed for HSTA, members, and the external parties who use HSTA’s social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter

Legal Parameters: The following paragraphs discuss your general legal responsibilities and non-disclosure obligations. Failure to abide by these guidelines can result in serious ramifications, such as the loss of social networking privileges, the removal of material and adverse employment actions. The word “material” refers to anything posted on HSTA’s social networking sites, including but not limited to, comments, documents, photographs and videos.

Legal Liability
You are personally responsible for the material that you post on HSTA’s Social Networking sites. You can be held personally liable for any material deemed to be defamatory, obscene, proprietary, or slanderous (whether pertaining to HSTA, individuals, or any other company). In essence, you post material at your own risk. Outside parties actually can pursue legal action against you (not HSTA) for postings.

Do not post material that is illegal, sexually explicit, obscene, defamatory, derogatory, related to alcohol or drug use, or in violation of copyright laws.

Do not access HSTA’s Social Networking sites from your school computer or during work time.

HSTA’s Social Networking sites are not for commercial use. Any advertisements or other for-profit materials not authorized by HSTA are strictly prohibited. 

HSTA reserves all rights to refuse to post any material or remove any material that violates these guidelines, violates HSTA policy, or is otherwise inappropriate.

Company Privileged Information
You may not post material regarding any confidential information related to HSTA’s policy, strategy, financials, members, negotiations, etc. You may not use the HSTA logo and/or trademarks without HSTA’s express written permission.

Press Inquiries
Postings may generate media coverage. If a member of the media contacts you about a HSTA-related blog posting or requests HSTA information of any kind, contact HSTA Communications Department at (808) 833-2711 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You should also reach out for PR clarification on whether specific information has been publicly disclosed before you post material.

Best Practices: These four recommendations provide a roadmap for constructive, respectful, and productive use of HSTA’s Social Networking sites.

Be Respectful
Respect your audience and your coworkers. Take care not to engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace. All HSTA members can be viewed (correctly or incorrectly) as representatives of the union, which can add significance to your public reflections on the organization (whether you intend to or not).

Get Your Facts Straight
To ensure you are not misrepresenting HSTA or its work or positions, consider reaching out to the relevant HSTA staff member before posting material. This courtesy will help you provide your readers with accurate insights, especially when you are posting material outside your area of expertise.

Be Mindful of Your Public Image
Consider the image you want to portray to the public. Be mindful that what you post may be viewed by parents, students, administrators, and community members, and may stay public for a long time.

Use Your Best Judgment
Remember there may be consequences to what you post. Consider your content carefully. If you are about to post something that makes you slightest bit uncomfortable, review these guidelines and think about whether to post the material.

Standards for Appropriate Conversation
HSTA believes it is important that online conversations on its Web site and other social media tools remain professional and respectful. HSTA monitors comments prior to posting to ensure compliance with its Social Networking Guidelines. HSTA posts comments quickly, but reserves the right to decline to post comments or remove comments if they are inappropriate or otherwise violate the HSTA Social Networking Guidelines.

Be succinct. If a comment is overly lengthy, HSTA reserves the right to shorten it. At most, please keep your comment to less than 500 words.

Reasons for not approving comments include:

  • The comment is not respectful.
  • The comment is not relevant to the topic.
  • We have reason to believe that the commenter is misrepresenting himself/herself.
  • A single person is dominating the conversation.
  • A commenter submits posts anonymously.
  • The commenter is not following the rules and guidelines of the site’s use policy.

Subject to Change
This HSTA Social Networking Guidelines is subject to change without notice.

These guidelines are an adaptation of the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s (WEAC) social media guidelines.  WEAC has given its expressed permission to HSTA for this adaptation.