Social media refers to online tools that people use to connect, including social networks (from AP Stylebook Online [2010]). These services allow users to create and publish content about themselves and their organizations. The social aspect of these tools lies in individuals' ability to interact and connect with others, thereby building online communities.

Social media offers a unique opportunity for two-way communication with our constituent groups, such as prospective and current students, faculty and staff, alumni, and more. These tools allow the university to share information with the world but, perhaps more importantly, allow our constituents to communicate with us in return. Therefore, listening and responding are key parts of the social media equation. Social media also allows for easy sharing of existing content, allowing us to share media stories and other online resources with our online communities quickly and easily.

The University of Puget Sound supports the appropriate use of social media in support of university communication goals. This handbook guides how to do so effectively, safely, and within university guidelines. This handbook has been adapted from other institutions’ resources, including the Vanderbilt University Social Media Handbook.