Rockefeller Archive Center Social Media Policy

Policy Statement

The Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) will host and participate in social media platforms and online communities in order to share historical information and resources and to more broadly engage with the general public and the archival, philanthropic, and researcher communities.


This policy applies to all RAC employees.

It will assist all RAC staff when they use social media in the following capacities:

  • Creating or adding content to official RAC social media pages, sites, or platforms.
  • Creating an “expert” blog or other content on other pages, sites, or platforms of another institution or organization, when acting as a representative or employee of the RAC.
  • Making reference to the RAC in a personal capacity on a personal social media accounts.

This policy does not apply to RAC staff in their personal use of social media platforms where the staff member makes no reference to the RAC.

Social Media Tools

Social media platforms allow users to share and upload media content such as photographs, videos, and comments to the Internet quickly and easily.

Social networks are one of the fastest growing areas in modern communications technology and are an effective way to encourage two-way communication with the RAC’s stakeholders.

Examples of such platforms and networks include:

  • Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Video and photo sharing sites, such YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram
  • Microblogs, such as Twitter and Tumblr
  • Weblogs (blogs), such as the RAC’s “Bits and Bytes”
  • Electronic Newsletters
  • Online forums and discussion boards
  • Encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia
  • Other online communities

RAC Social Media Team

The RAC will maintain a Social Media team composed of employees throughout the organization. The Social Media Team will, at a minimum, include employees occupying the following positions within the RAC:

  • Director of Archives, who will serve as primary social media team lead
  • Assistant Director, Head of Reference, who will serve as a back-up social media team lead
  • A designated Research and Education Program staff person, who will serve as a back-up social media team lead

Additional employees, regardless of position and experience, are encouraged to participate on the Social Media Team on a voluntary basis. In addition to at least one person from the Research and Education Program, ideally, the team will include someone from each RAC function area. All team members should expect to contribute content to the RAC’s social media platforms.

Purpose of Social Media

When posting content to social media and networking sites and platforms, it is helpful to remember the reasons for doing so. When using RAC branded or owned social media, the aims should be to:

  • Promote the RAC mission
  • Reach a wider, more diverse audience
  • Educate, inform, and entertain
  • Increase awareness of the RAC’s collections, ensuring an engagement balance between the Rockefeller family collections and collections related to philanthropy
  • Promote events sponsored by the RAC
  • Share information about RAC initiatives
  • Share information about events or initiatives in which RAC staff participated
  • Contribute knowledge to the broader archival, historical, and philanthropic communities

Posts, Likes, and Shares

No postings on RAC social media should be initiated without approval as to tone and content from one of the following:

  • primary social media team lead (Director of Archives), or
  • back-up social media team lead (Assistant Director, Head of Reference, or the Research and Education designee), or
  • RAC Assistant Director with responsibility over the subject matter of the post, or
  • President of the RAC

Any postings which have the potential to be controversial in nature must be approved by the Director of Archives or the President of the RAC before being posted. When in doubt, seek this level of approval.

RAC social media accounts can follow the social media accounts of RAC’s donor/depositor organizations, professional organizations relevant to the RAC’s mission and activities, and other archival and cultural heritage institutions and organizations. RAC social media accounts may also follow accounts of individuals where the account is used primarily for professional purposes that relate to the RAC’s mission and activities, e.g., archivists, curators, historians, and philanthropy practitioners. RAC social media accounts avoid following accounts of individuals where those accounts are used primarily to make statements or to express personal opinions unrelated to the RAC’s mission and activities.

RAC social media accounts may like and share postings made by organizations and individuals, including RAC staff, that comment on or mention the RAC’s activities and facilities, experiences at the RAC, and the work of RAC staff when such posts related to the staff member’s work for or at the RAC.

Roles and Responsibilities

There are two capacities in which RAC staff can use social media platforms and communities in support of the RAC’s social media objectives: (1) using official RAC social media accounts or platforms as part of the RAC Social Media Team, and (2) using personal accounts to refer to the RAC or posting on personal or other non-RAC platforms about events or initiatives in which the staff person is representing the RAC in an official capacity, such as serving on professional committees and attending professional conferences.

When using official RAC social media accounts, staff should:

  • Promote the values and goals of the RAC
  • Uphold the Code of Conduct, Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment policy, Conflict of Interest policy, and Employment Practices policies as stated in the RAC Employee Handbook
  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Contribute
  • Respect all stakeholders
  • Withhold confidential information about staff, donors, and researchers
  • Respect the privacy of colleagues, donors, and researchers

When using personal accounts to refer to the RAC or posting on personal or other non-RAC accounts about events or initiatives in which you are representing the RAC in an official capacity, staff should:

  • Show respect for your audience.
  • Be conscious that what you write will reflect on the RAC and on you as an employee of the RAC, so use good judgment.
  • Refrain from criticizing current or former RAC staff.
  • Uphold the Code of Conduct, Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment policy, Conflict of Interest policy, and Employment Practices policies as stated in the RAC Employee Handbook.

Social Media Tips

The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun with social media is to write about something that you know.

  • There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring, if you write about topics of which you have limited knowledge.
  • Don’t expressly suggest or state that the RAC has endorsed a product or a particular point of view. However, “liking” or sharing another account’s post or a comment posted to RAC social media does not imply endorsement since such activities are an important component of audience engagement.
  • Be concise.
  • Use a spell-checker.
  • The speed with which posts can be made is a blessing and a curse. The time to edit and reflect must be self-imposed. If in doubt about a post, of if something doesn’t feel right, either let it sit and look at it again later, or ask someone else to look at it.
  • And always, always, follow the approval process before posting to RAC social media.

Let’s Not Forget Our Day Jobs

A robust social media presence is an important aspect of the RAC’s public engagement. But social media, both professional and personal, can be a distraction. Make sure that time spent online, especially on social media, does not interfere with our jobs or our commitments to our stakeholders.

Annual Review

This RAC Social Media Policy will be reviewed by the RAC Social Media Team at least once a year to ensure that it remains functional with regard to procedure and relevant to changing social media trends and usage.

Sources Consulted


  • “How did that post do?” by Jessica Johnson, Social Engagement Producer, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; at “Humanizing the Digital,” annual conference of the Museum Computer Network, Denver, 2018