Web and social media

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Best practices

Including pronouns in email signatures, WCMS/WatIAM

Avoid recommending that community members add their pronouns to email signatures. While including pronouns is encouraged for inclusivity, it is a personal decision. This may be a well-intentioned inclusive gesture, but it could prove unsafe for some individuals in our community. For example, a person who is not comfortable with sharing gender identity could feel pressured to make a choice before they are ready, or a person may not want to provide pronouns due to safety concerns or feeling uncomfortable. If it is the consensus that the community lists pronouns and a group of people do not list pronouns this also could draw attention to the omission, resulting in questioning or feelings of not belonging.

Territorial Acknowledgement on branded social media platforms*

The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching and community building and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office. (75 words, 508 characters)

Unlike the University of Waterloo websites, social media managers for branded social accounts are limited to the word count and features of each platform. The ideal location for a territorial acknowledgement would be in the ‘Description’ or ‘Biography’ for each profile page that serves as a homepage. As detailed below, both Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn provide enough space for the full territorial acknowledgement. However, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok do not. Communicators will need to either develop a creative solution within the platforms or shorten the acknowledgement for social media use (which may be unachievable). If you have questions about the use of the Territorial Acknowledgement in your communication, please contact University Relations for further advice and support.

*Based on current platform functionality as of September 2022. Subject to change based on platform updates.

Social media

Facebook page

  • Based on the character length of the territorial acknowledgment, it would only fit to include it under the ‘Additional Information’ section on a UWaterloo branded profile. The character limit for this section is plenty, at 50,000 characters, versus the ‘Page Description’ section, which has a character limit of only 255 characters.
  • Therefore, including the territorial acknowledgement in the ‘Additional Information’ section could be a best practice, as well as including a URL to the Indigenous Initiatives Office: uwaterloo.ca/indigenous

LinkedIn and YouTube page

  • Based on the character length of the territorial acknowledgment, it would fit to include it under the ‘Page Description’ section on a UWaterloo branded profile. The character limit for this section is plenty, at 2,000 characters (LinkedIn), and 1,500 characters (YouTube).
  • Including the territorial acknowledgement in the ‘Page Description’ section could be a best practice, as well as including a URL to the Indigenous Initiatives Office: uwaterloo.ca/indigenous

Instagram page

  • Based on the character length of the territorial acknowledgment, it would not fit to include it under the page bio, as the character limit is 150 characters.
  • Potential solutions could be including the words ‘Territorial Acknowledgement’ above the website link in the ‘Page Bio’, or adding the territorial acknowledgement as a comment under any photo posted of campus.

Twitter page

  • Based on the character length of the territorial acknowledgment, it would not fit to include it under the page bio, as the character limit is 160 characters.
  • A potential solution could be to tweet the full acknowledgement, and ‘Pin’ it to the page so that it displays first in the feed.

TikTok page

  • Based on the character length of the territorial acknowledgment, it would not fit to include it under the ‘Page Bio’ as the character limit is 80 characters.
  • Potential solution could be to create a video that displays the full territorial acknowledgement text and ‘Pin’ it to the front page of the profile.