Berkeley Lab

Social Media Guidelines

These guidelines, developed by Berkeley Lab’s Public Affairs Department, are intended to help Lab staff who are interested in establishing or using a social media platform in an official capacity on behalf of Berkeley Lab, such as to represent a department, division, or user facility. For Berkeley Lab’s policies on basic computing and communications, which pertain to all Lab employees, read RPM 9.01 Computing and Communication and RPM 9.02 Operational Procedures for Computing and Communications.

Getting started: Before you set up a social media account, please follow these steps:

  1. Ask these questions: Is there an audience that will benefit from your social media activity? Is there someone or a group who can take on the job of monitoring and updating each channel? Is there enough material to make at least one post per week?
  2. Reach out to our Berkeley Lab social media team via to let them know you are interested in setting up a social media presence, why, and how you plan to use it. This will help them help you.
  3. Collaborate with our social media team to determine best handle or name for your account(s), as well as graphic identity.
  4. Establish and complete the profile/bio information for your social media channel(s).
  5. Send our social media team the link(s) to your channel(s) for addition into our social media directory.

Once you are on social media, please keep these tips in mind. Social media is a great way to engage a large audience, but there are ways to do it well—and not so well—so please read on.

  • Add value: Make sure your social media posts add to the conversation. Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique perspectives on what’s going on at Berkeley Lab and the world.
  • Do us proud: Remember that any Berkeley Lab-branded social media channel is an extension of the Lab’s “voice.” Your posts should reflect Berkeley Lab’s values.
  • It’s a conversation. Talk to your followers like you would to real people in professional situations. Avoid overly pedantic or composed language. Bring in your own personality. Consider content that invites response.
  • Be transparent. If you are posting about your work at Berkeley Lab, use your real name, identify that you work for Berkeley Lab, and be clear about your role. If you’re posting on behalf of a department or facility, make sure this is clearly stated.
  • Think before you post: There is no delete button on the internet, and social media is about as public a stage as you can find. If it gives you pause, pause.
  • Make a mistake? If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction.
  • Play nice. Be respectful and considerate. Don’t get into an argument with followers.
  • Know what NOT to post. Ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are private or internal to Berkeley Lab. If you are unsure, ask the source of the information. All statements must be true and not misleading. Never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties we are in litigation with. Respect proprietary information, content, and confidentiality.
  • Crisis communications? Leave that to Public Affairs. If an emergency affects Berkeley Lab and/or surrounding communities, communications from Berkeley Lab are carefully controlled via the Emergency Operations Center. This prevents confusion and misleading information. Refrain from releasing information on emergencies in your social networks.

Also to consider: Before establishing a social media presence, ask whether you’d be better served by working with the Public Affairs Department, which manages the Lab’s main accounts: TwitterFacebookInstagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube.

You may find that funneling information through these channels is a better way to reach a large audience. Information posted on these sites is intended for a broad audience.

Public Affairs’ policy on comments and moderation

Berkeley Lab respects different opinions and hopes to foster dialogue within our social media presences. However, comments on social media sites managed by Berkeley Lab Public Affairs may be removed if they violate our commenting policy. Comments may be removed if they:

  • Contain obscene, indecent, or profane language;
  • Contain threats or defamatory statements;
  • Contain hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability;
  • Contain sensitive or personally identifiable information; and/or
  • Are completely out of context

Because of the anonymous nature of YouTube accounts, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs staff pre-moderates comments to videos posted on our YouTube channel before the comments are posted.