Berkeley Lab


Berkeley Lab recognizes the value of social media as a mechanism for furthering the Lab’s communications goals. The following guidelines are for Lab staff who use social media platforms in an official capacity on behalf of Berkeley Lab, such as to represent a department, division, area, or user facility. They also provide guidance for Lab staff on the personal use of social media as it pertains to affiliation with Berkeley Lab, and to staff who are interested in establishing a Berkeley Lab-social media sub-accounts under lab-level accounts.

Berkeley Lab staff are reminded that they are subject to applicable UC and Berkeley Lab policies when using social media, including but not limited to Berkeley Lab’s policies on Acceptable Use of Information Technology and Public Information and External Relations in Berkeley Lab’s Requirements and Policies Manual.

Guidance on use of Berkeley Lab-affiliated social media accounts:

Content that is published on a Berkeley Lab-affiliated social media account should be professional, stay on topic, be respectful, and be protective of confidential information. In addition, content should:

  • Be of interest to the Lab’s or the group’s target audiences
  • Pertain to Berkeley Lab’s scientific missions and values
  • Be understandable by a broad range of target audience members
  • Not focus on narrow topics or events with limited audience appeal

Berkeley Lab respects different opinions and hopes to foster dialogue within our social media presences. However, Berkeley Lab reserves the right to monitor content posted on its social media accounts, and considers outside of the purpose of such accounts comments that:

  • 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;
  • Promote illegal activity
  • Promote commercial services or products
  • Comprise support for or opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures

Guidance on use of personal social media accounts as it pertains to affiliation with Berkeley Lab:

  • Do not imply that you are representing Berkeley Lab, or any of its areas, user facilities, or divisions. Consider using disclaimers on personal accounts. Examples provided: “My personal opinions are not necessarily the opinions or position of my employer;” and “Opinions are mine, not my employer’s.”

Guidance on use of Berkeley Lab IT as it pertains to social media:

  • When using DOE/Berkeley Lab resources and equipment for social media, do not pursue political activities or engage in private business activities.
  • Do not use Berkeley Lab email addresses to register on social networks. An exception here is LinkedIn, which uses domains to verify your employer.
  • Professional use of social media sites is OK, but minimize your personal time on social networks during work time or when using DOE/Berkeley Lab equipment or resources.

Interested in setting up a Berkeley Lab-affiliated social media account?

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

Ask these questions: What is the benefit of creating a sub-account instead of using Berkeley Lab “lab-level” social media channels? How will you build an audience via social media that you cannot build in a less time-consuming way? Have you successfully built a social media following before? What helped it succeed (or why did it falter)?

When operating an account, remember that building an audience takes time and creativity. Fresh, original content is essential, particularly for high-traffic outlets such as Twitter. The following best practices apply:

  • Post original content regularly—daily in the case of Facebook and Twitter. (Retweets are supplemental content and don’t count as original posts.)
  • Make sure your content is timely. Don’t post stale news items.
  • Follow LBNL Social Media Guidelines, including the flowchart “Should I post this to social media?”
  • Make sure your posts are grammatically correct and free of spelling errors.
  • Use established hashtags to avoid using something that might have multiple meanings. (Beware of hashtagging government acronyms. They usually don’t mean the same thing on Twitter.)
  • For further guidance on Facebook and Twitter best practices, refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s social media policies.

If you do not have time or resources to devote to long-term success, do not start an account. A stale or dormant social media feed sends the message that a particular subject area is unimportant to Berkeley Lab.If you believe your work for Berkeley Lab would benefit from a dedicated social media subaccount, submit the following information to [email protected] for review by Berkeley Lab Strategic Communications.

  • Name and title of the person submitting the request
  • Contact email and phone number
  • Social media application(s) you want to utilize
  • Justification
  • Strategy to maintain the account (content examples)
  • Proposed account username/URL
  • Proposed account bio
  • Criteria for following others (if applicable)

Once you have started a new account, please Send our social media team the link(s) to your channel(s) for addition into our social media directory.

Tips on using social media:

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.”
  • 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.