Social Media Policy

Posts on social media by staff, volunteers and vendors can help the American Academy of Optometry (Academy) expand its reach and increase its impact by raising awareness, building a sense of community among members and potential members, helping to improve the knowledge or skills of our constituents, providing a virtual means to engage members and potential members, and more.

This policy provides a framework for staff, volunteers, and vendors to engage in these activities effectively and ethically. Above all, staff, volunteers, vendors, and members should recognize that they are perceived as representatives of the Academy when engaging in personal social media activities and are expected to use appropriate common sense and discretion in addition to following these policies, even while using personal social media accounts and/or outside of work hours.
For the purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, wikis, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and new tools as they emerge. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the Internet. The term “Academy” is synonymous with both the American Academy of Optometry and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.

Social Media Guidelines

  • Academy staff and designated volunteers will have administrative rights to the Academy’s social media pages.
  • All posts made by Academy administrators on Academy social media sites must be related to optometry and vision science or other official Academy business. Administrators, volunteers, vendors and members posting on Academy sites must ensure to only post accurate information, cite sources when appropriate, and refrain from posting confidential information.
  • Posts made by members or the general public on Academy controlled pages are continuously monitored. Spam, inappropriate posts, or attempts to sell products/goods will be removed by an Academy administrator at their discretion.
  • With respect to social media pages not administered by the Academy, it is understood that the views expressed by individuals are not representative of those of the Academy, and that individuals have freedom to express their own personal views. However, the Academy strongly urges staff, volunteers, and vendors to refrain from making controversial, degrading or otherwise inappropriate comments (when using their personal social media accounts) that could reflect poorly on the Academy or their colleagues.
    • If there is a discussion of an industry-related topic and the poster has a role within the Academy as staff/volunteer/vendor, it should be made clear that statements made on social media are solely the opinion of the individual (i.e., “I am an employee of the Academy. However, this is my own opinion, not the opinion of the Academy.”)
    • In order to protect the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status of the Academy, there are topics that association members are not permitted to write about in any format, including social media. While speaking as an official Academy representative, individuals cannot endorse or oppose a product or company or call for a boycott of a product or company. In addition, individuals speaking as an Academy representative may not endorse or oppose any federal, state or local candidate running for political office.
    • The Academy strongly urges employees/volunteers/vendors to use privacy controls on their personal social media pages so you can closely control what information and commentary is available to be accessed by the public.
    • Academy staff/volunteers/vendors should not blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen names in any capacity that would reflect poorly on the organization.
  •  Before using an Academy trademark or other copyrighted material on any social media site, one must have the written permission of the Academy.
  • Academy employees should not share photographs or other personal information of Academy employees or volunteers without express consent.
  • Above all, be respectful of others, and when in doubt do not post.

The Academy reserves the right to suspend access to participation, or revoke access to contributing, on the Academy’s social media pages. Non-compliance with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including suspension and termination in the case of an employee. In the case of a violation by a volunteer or member, the Academy’s Ethics Committee will be notified and reserves the right to use disciplinary action. 

Updated July 2017