Staking Your Claim


Many school districts are just now entering the social media space as a result of changing policies and the realization that social media channels are a vital method of communication with students and stakeholders. One of the first things to do when working in social media for your district or school is to secure identities on all of the popular channels. If you don’t already control Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for your organization, get started claiming those properties now.

In an ideal world, you’ll be able to secure the sites without any problem. Realistically, though, you may find that a page has already been created by someone other than an official representative. Each channel has different methods to follow in making claims on user names and accounts:

  • With Facebook, the steps to follow are outlined in a help topic titled “Claiming a Page for Your Business.”
  • Twitter will assist in cases of trademark infringement with Twitter handles (if you can prove ownership) but tends to suggest you devise an alternate name.
  • Instagram cautions that starting a trademark battle can have serious legal consequences and suggests trying to work out disputes with the alleged violator before lodging a complaint.

It may turn out that you have to follow the lead of celebrities and well-established brands and settle for using something like the_real_school_district or trueISD501.

In addition to claiming obvious user names, handles and accounts, look into claiming other permutations and derivatives. If you control localschoolsucks, terriblelocalschool or badsuperintendentjones, you can avoid potential problems with embarrassing postings.

5 Replies to “Staking Your Claim”

  1. What has your experience been with claiming/merging Facebook pages and reporting problems to social media services? What do you think about schools and school districts filing for federal intellectual property protections?

    1. I’ve had good success claiming/merging pages. Some appear to have been started by others without malicious intent, so it has been uneventful. I haven’t had to make any reports.
      I definitely think schools and school districts should protect their brands through trademark filings. We spend far too much time developing and building our brand to let someone jump our claim.

      1. Thanks! I’ve seen the same thing, I think; claiming/merging has been tedious, but not painful or overly difficult. We had to report a Twitter account impersonating a staff member earlier this year, which was also pretty straightforward.

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