ABDO Social media policy

Purpose of the Guidelines

The aim of these guidelines is to help:

  • Protect and support staff / members acting on behalf of the organisation contributing to, and engaging with, social media
  • Encourage good practice and consistency across the organisation’s online activities
  • Promote the effective use of social media
  • Protect the reputation of the organisation, its staff, members and partner organisations
  • Protect patients.

‘The organisation’ refers to the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, to be referred to as ABDO.

Scope of the Guidelines

These social media guidelines are aimed at staff and members who use, or intend to use, social media as part of their work on behalf of the organisation. These guidelines also apply to staff and members’ personal use of social media in and out of working hours where their comments could be taken to reflect on the organisation. This could include handling member queries, promoting ABDO events, updates on organisational news, communication between staff and/ or between members. This does not cover personal use of social media, such as communicating with friends and family.


Social media, where people network, comment and share online, is a now a part of everyday life. According to the ONS, the internet was used daily or almost daily by 82% of adults (41.8 million) in Great Britain in 2016, compared with 78% (39.3 million) in 2015 and 35% (16.2 million) in 2006. 89% of households in Great Britain (23.7 million) had internet access, an increase from 86% in 2015 and 57% in 2006. Per the most recent data, 63% of adults use the internet for social media. 51% of adult internet users have used it to look for health information.

Despite the opportunities presented by social media, there are risks. Social media allows individuals to communicate with a potentially huge audience. Unlike traditional media it is all about two‐way communication, with immediate publication of comments, and debates can become heated. Its informality can encourage us to be less cautious than we would be using other more traditional methods of communicating and interacting.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat are all examples of social media. For the purposes of this policy we do not include email.

Policy framework

These guidelines fit within:

GOC standards

Read more

ABDO professional conduct advice and guidelines

Read more