American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Social Media Policy

AACC’s social media policy
These guidelines were adopted on February 20, 2013:

Online Technologies, Social Media, and AACC

Our Goals
Our goals in making better use of new online communication tools (e.g., Web 2.0 technologies, social media, or social networking sites) are:

  • Expand and strengthen AACC’s work in improving healthcare through laboratory medicine
  • Expand our membership
  • Better communicate with existing members and target audiences
  • Provide tools for members to connect with each other more easily
  • Strengthen our relationships with our members
  • Strengthen our relationship with other clinical societies
  • Elevate the presence of laboratory medicine globally

Our Online Communications Model
Increasingly, more people in the United States and internationally are not only consumers of information on the Web, but are actively participating in online conversations and creating content. It is important that we integrate social networks and other online technologies into AACC’s communications work.

In order to integrate all of AACC’s online communications work, we have adopted the following wheel as our model. The wheel communications strategy has at its core the stronger, redesigned Web site, www.aacc.org (to be launched January 2014). Radiating from the core and interacting with each other are online communications platforms where people already congregate and where we want to establish or strengthen our presence.

In addition to pushing out AACC’s core messages and actions, we will seek to engage various audiences by facilitating conversation, education, and awareness about laboratory medicine.
AACC Social Media
The radials—e.g., blogs, videos, and social media networks—are relatively new to AACC. We have to experiment to find out which ones will work best for the organization and/or individual programs. On new platforms, we have to be flexible in our engagement, recognizing that they may have good or bad consequences. We also have to be flexible in our strategy, understanding that we may want to engage with new Web 2.0 properties as they are introduced as well as reach out to international social media sites such as Orkut and ResearchGate in the future.

Through this integrated model, AACC staff, Board members, and engaged grassroots networks will leverage our storytelling across all media platforms—from traditional media like print, radio, and television, to online platforms like the Web and social networking sites.

Our Principles

As an organization,

…we will establish an AACC presence wherever target audiences or constituencies already congregate online. AACC’s communications department and designated AACC staff members will maintain AACC’s official sites in social media networks and other online platforms. We will actively invite and/or engage our constituents on these platforms if they are not already engaged through other means or if these new platforms will enhance our interaction with them.

…we will ensure that once we establish our presence in a social media site, it will be updated regularly according to the conventions of each site. In many cases, we will appoint a site manager that will coordinate with other AACC staff in creating its content. As a policy, ultimate responsibility for all of AACC’s editorial content in all media platforms rests with the Director of Communications and PR.

…we will be flexible as we encourage experimentation and testing of new social media tools and functionalities not currently used by AACC. Social media tools are new and developing rapidly. If no policies cover future technologies, we will be practical and flexible in dealing with them using whatever resources we have. However, we will adopt only those tools and platforms that will help us advance our mission, and not because they are trendy or cool.

…we will encourage AACC staff and supporters to use social media and Web 2.0 tools. The essence of an online community is that it exists so we can support others and they, in turn, can support us. The more people we have Tweeting or talking online about lab medicine and health care overall, the better it is for our mission. But while we encourage AACC staff to use these new tools, their social media sites shall be personal sites.

…we will provide training and resources to AACC staff. Such training will only encourage familiarity with and acceptance of these tools as agents of change.

…and as appropriate, we will provide training and resources (e.g., tips, ideas, and guidelines) for key AACC activists. These will include an overview of AACC’s current presence on social media platforms as well as standards and style. These resources will be gathered and updated regularly by the communications department.

…and whenever possible, we will be supportive of social media sites initiated by AACC’s grassroots networks such as Divisions, Local Sections, and international Lab Tests Online sites. If needed, we shall provide them with the help to bring their sites up to AACC’s standards. These sites, however, shall carry a disclaimer that they were set up by AACC members and activists and are not official AACC sites. The liaisons to these grassroots networks will provide support for these sites, including notification of changes in messaging.

..we will endeavor to ensure consistency of messages and actions across all media platforms. We will ensure that the essence of AACC’s messages remains true to the organization’s current strategic plan and mission, no matter what media is used. We will also encourage the voices of owners of personal social media sites to enhance messages and actions being promoted by AACC. Whenever possible, we will solicit ideas and stories from our constituents to help enhance our messages and tactics. We will change our campaign tactics and messages if needed.

…we will adhere to AACC’s policies, including those covering privacy and confidential information, and the AACC Brand and Style Guide.
..we will identify ourselves clearly in what we write and what we post. When acting as an AACC staff member, we will always identify ourselves as such in responding to posts, blogs, or other social media. We shall not engage in arguments or “flame wars,” but in civil discourse.

…we will moderate all comments and responses to AACC’s blogs. We will ensure that no spam, profanity, defamatory, inappropriate or libelous language will be posted to our sites. Neither will we use such language when we post comments to other people’s sites.

…we will respect copyright rules. We will properly cite our sources, and post only items that are covered by fair use or published under Creative Commons. Otherwise, we will seek permission first.

As individuals,

…we will not use our identity as AACC employees, including our AACC email accounts, in association with personal sites that are outside the scope of AACC’s mission.

…we will be guided by AACC policy staff regarding actions on legislation that we currently are campaigning on. While personal social network accounts (e.g., Facebook) should remain personal, owners will be encouraged to call for actions consistent with actions being promoted by AACC. Such messages can and may be re-tooled into the voice of the owner, but not in a manner that could be construed as new AACC policy. To the extent possible, sample messages will be provided.

…we will be responsible for what we write and what we post. Our use of social media sites is governed by our mission and our strategic plan – and by good judgment and common sense. In general, we will tell our stories responsibly and not write or post anything that would embarrass our families, or reflect badly on AACC.

…we will ensure that our blogging and social networking activities will not interfere with our work commitments. Unless we are officially designated to work with social media, we will reasonably limit our personal use of social networking sites at work.

Our Process
Where AACC does not have an online presence and feels that it requires one, AACC’s communications department will recommend a site manager to establish such a presence. Site managers can come from any AACC department but shall always coordinate its work with the communications department.

The site managers will administer these sites on a daily basis and will ensure that these are regularly updated. These sites will be administered consistent with AACC’s Brand and Style Guide.

To ensure continuity, the communications department will maintain a central directory of all log-in information and passwords for AACC’s presence in online platforms and social media sites. This will include all global sites, regional sites, and micro-sites that are created by AACC staff in their official capacity.

Conflicts will be resolved by the Director of Communications and PR and the Vice President of Marketing and Communications. The Director of Communications & PR shall also conduct a regular review of these social media sites. Sites may be closed if they no longer serve the purpose they were created for.

The views expressed by AACC members or authors participating in AACC social media sites represent the views of the individual and are not necessarily those of AACC. The views of AACC members, authors and other volunteers participating in social media sites outside of AACC do not necessarily represent the views of AACC.