RESPIRATORY THERAPY SOCIETY OF ONTARIO (RTSO)
SOCIAL MEDIA TERMS OF USE AND POLICY

DATE ORIGINALLY APPROVED: May 4, 2014
DATE(S) REVISION APPROVED: N/A

Disclaimer

All references to the Privacy, Confidentiality, Employee and Conflict of Interest (COI) Policies in the document herein, refer to the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario’s (CRTO) policies. The RTSO does not currently have such policies and thus, the CRTO’s Privacy, Confidentiality, Employee and COI Policies will be strictly adhered to until a time when the RTSO may choose to release such policies of its own.

Social Media Terms of Use Guidelines for Designated Spokespersons

Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario (RTSO) designated spokespersons use the Internet in the course of their work as well as during their private time. Social media – blogs, twitter, public wikis and social networking sites such as Facebook, provide useful means of communication with Members and stakeholders.

The following policy is meant to assist designated spokespersons in making appropriate, trouble-free use of social media at home and at work.

What is social media?

Social media refers to online technologies and practices that are used to share information and opinions, host conversation and build relationships. It can involve a variety of formats, including text, pictures, video, audio and “live,” real-time dialogues of a few, or thousands of participants.

Examples of social media include discussion forums, blogs, social networks, webinars, wikis, podcasts, Google Wave and vlogs (video blogs).

Benefits of social media

Social media can help the RTSO to better understand, respond to and attract the attention of specific audiences. It enables interactive communication – the exchange of information, perspective and opinion – among multiple audiences, effectively, efficiently, and in places where those conversations are already taking place. Social media can:

increase the RTSO’s access to audiences and improve the accessibility of communication and engagement efforts;

  • enable the RTSO to be more active in its relationships with Members and stakeholders;
  • offer greater scope to adjust or refocus communications quickly, when necessary;
  • enhance the credibility of the RTSO’s initiatives or proposals through non- traditional channels;
  • increase the speed of public feedback and input;
  • reach specific audiences on specific issues; and
  • reduce the RTSO’s dependence on traditional media

Official Use of Social Media

The RTSO can make use of social media in two ways:

  • by contributing to existing platforms operated by outside organizations or individuals, or
  • by setting up its own discussion forums or other online communication platforms. These may be ongoing or may be established for a specific time-limited proposal or initiative. They may be open to the public or access may be confined to a particular group of stakeholders.

When considering launching a social media initiative, designated spokespersons should be clear about the purpose and the resource implications that maintaining and monitoring the effort will entail.

Guiding Principles for Designated Spokespersons Use of Social Media

The CRTO’s Confidentiality, Privacy, Employee and Conflict of Interest policies apply to on-line communication as fully as they do to activities in any other circumstance or venue.

Professionalism

Designated spokespersons who engage in social media must:

maintain a respectful, constructive, professional tone that maintains the brand consistency of the RTSO;

  • meet professional standards of the CRTO;
  • stick to the facts and refrain from debates over matters of strict opinion;
  • never launch personal attacks or make defamatory or offensive (racist, sexist, lewd etc.) statements;
  • refrain from making partisan, political comments while speaking as a RTSO representative;
  • not criticize policies of the RTSO; and
  • maintain the integrity and values of the RTSO’s designated spokespersons.

In other words, designated spokespersons who engage in social media should use common sense.

Confidentiality

Many of us are privy to confidential and sometimes sensitive information. All efforts should be made to protect confidential information when posting comments online, as anywhere else.

Authorization

Before granting an interview with the media or to appear on television, on behalf of the RTSO, you are required to make contact with the President to discuss the request. Unless otherwise authorized, the president is the only one authorized to talk to media on behalf of the RTSO. The same authorization applies to online communications. If you are thinking about posting to a social media site on a RTSO-related matter, discuss with the Communications staff first, who may discuss with the President and/or Executive Board. The Membership is not well served if different sources within the RTSO are communicating different things.

All work-related, external social media initiatives must be approved by the President and/or Executive Board, who are responsible for ensuring appropriate awareness and agreement with the initiative.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the RTSO to encourage clear and effective communication with all Members and stakeholders. RTSO use of social media must, like all other forms of communication, meet tests of credibility, privacy, authority and accountability.

Definitions

SOCIAL MEDIA – Social media means the online technologies and practices that are used to share information and opinions and build relationships. It can involve a variety of formats, including text, pictures, video, audio and real-time dialogues. It includes, but is not exclusive to, such things as social networks, discussion forums, blogs, wikis and Twitter.

MODERATED – Moderated means technical and monitoring measures that prevent, or ensure the timely removal of, any defamatory or objectionable submissions.

Policy Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to:

  • encourage the safe, creative and effective use of social media by RTSO designated spokespersons, Members and stakeholders.
  • provide a framework for the application of the policies and guidelines that oversee social media use, such as the Social Media Terms of Use and the Foundations and Resources for a Best Practices Approach to Social Media (CRTO).
  • enable social media use in communicating overall RTSO themes and policy directions.
  • ensure the use of social media by RTSO designated spokespersons complies with all applicable laws, and all RTSO policies and procedures, as well as CRTO policies and procedures related to protection of privacy, retention of records, security, code of conduct, confidentiality and Internet/e-mail use.

Policy Application

This policy applies to all social media communication by all RTSO designated spokespersons, Board of Directors and Committee Members.

Policy Directives

  • RTSO designated spokespersons using any social media are governed by all RTSO policies and procedures including those related to the protection of privacy, records retention and website/Internet use.
  • All RTSO designated spokespersons using social media shall comply with the Social Media Terms of Use and the Foundations and Resources for a Best Practices Approach to Social Media (CRTO).
  • Blogs, discussion forums or other social media initiated and/or created by, and within the control of the RTSO must be moderated.
  • RTSO-hosted social media services must include Terms of Use Guidelines for users.

Accountability

ALL RTSO DESIGNATED SPOKESPERSONS

  • RTSO designated spokespersons are responsible for understanding and following all RTSO policies affecting use of social media, including but not exclusive to the Social Media Terms of Use, the Foundations and Resources for a Best Practices Approach to Social Media and procedures affecting protection of privacy, records retention and website/Internet use.
  • ensuring that social media services initiated and/or created by and within the control of RTSO are moderated;
  • ensuring that appropriate Terms of Use Guidelines are posted, whenever possible, for all RTSO-operated social media initiatives; and
  • ensuring that appropriate records management policies are implemented for all RTSO-operated social media initiatives.

Designated Social Media Administrator

  • is a Registered Respiratory Therapist;
  • is responsible for administering and ensuring implementation of the policy;
  • will determine that each new social media venture initiated or created by the RTSO has plans that are based on reasonable communications practices and include technical and monitoring measures which prevent, or ensure the timely removal of, any defamatory or objectionable submissions; and
  • is responsible for ensuring the appropriate criteria required for moderation of social media is created.

References

  • College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario (CRTO) – Social Media Terms of Use Policy
  • College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario (CRTO) – Social Media Policy