Social Media Policy

Outreach Officers: Vaneshree Vidyarthi and Keziah Warburton (

The current version of CAA’s Social Media Policy and Guidelines was approved by the Executive Steering Committee of CAA International on 23 September 2016 and ratified at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 15 March 2017 at the CAA conference in Atlanta (Ulla Rajala, Outreach Officer).


1.1. After establishing a newly nominated Outreach Officer post taking over the responsibilities regarding the content of the blog within the web page (WordPress pages of CAA International), Facebook Page and Twitter and LinkedIn groups, CAA International is establishing a greater social media presence and will aim at improving outreach especially outside Europe. In order to establish guidelines for social media use by both its officers and members and to separate the private and public roles of different officers as social media users, it has been deemed appropriate to present a policy document for general use.

1.2. This document is based on benchmark documents provided by the guidelines of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York (Hadley and Rayner, 2012) and the Social Media for Staff Policy Template (JISC, 2014). Although the first is more of a handbook, it gives a model for incorporating advice into instructions, whereas the second document provides a template for staff members of organisations to draft suitable policy documents for their organisations. The latter template has been modified for use here, where appropriate. These documents should be seen as guidance only and not taken to replace proper legal advice in any problematic cases.

1.3. Institutions and organisations such as CAA International are becoming increasingly aware of the numerous benefits of social media, while at the same time, the adoption of these forums in everyday practice may present some issues. Policy documents aim at providing consistency within the organisation; regulating practice in order to provide clear boundaries for officers, and defining the voice and tone for the members in order to minimise the risk of reputational damage and in the worst case any legal disputes.

1.4. In the case of CAA International, this document is a live document and sections will be added as and when the use of different channels widens. At the moment, the document covers Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but is likely to be extended to other platforms in the future when needed.

Position Statement

2.1. CAA International recognises the numerous benefits and opportunities which a social media presence offers. This society, embracing different aspects of digital and quantitative archaeology, aims to build relationships and work with the wider archaeological community to share information and news and promote CAA International. CAA International will actively use social media to engage appropriately with its members, other archaeologists, those interested in digital archaeology and the wider public to enhance the profile of the society, increase public awareness of its activities and promote both CAA International and digital and quantitative archaeology in a wider global context.

2.2. A social media account provides a flexible delivery platform and CAA International uses it to supplement the now traditional e-mail and web-page based part of its communications. CAA will restrict its official use to  authorised officers who will communicate in its name, and will encourage officers to make effective and appropriate use of it; to engage in conversations with colleagues and the community as well as sharing appropriate outputs on different media. In addition, within the social media channels of CAA International, CAA International not only expects its members to follow the guidelines provided here but also by being a member it implies  agreement to follow them.

2.3. In order to provide clarity and consistency for different officers and representatives, while recognising the corresponding challenges for CAA International, there is restricted use of the content management in social media to authorised and named officers and some common-sense boundaries to all. CAA International’s approach is therefore to support its authorised officers and members to engage with its community, while providing appropriate guidance on best practice.

2.4. The officers and members of CAA International are expected to refresh their knowledge of this policy, particularly the included Disciplinary Policy in Section 11 of this document.

Authorisation and Review

3.1. The social media policy has been approved by the Executive Steering Committee of CAA International on 23 September 2016 and will be ratified by the AGM at the 2017 conference in Atlanta.

3.2. Any questions relating to this policy should be addressed to the Outreach Officer who can be contacted via e-mail (

3.3. The content, appropriateness and impact of this policy will be monitored and updated regularly every two years (or when a new Outreach Officer is elected) to reflect the changing online environment, technologies and the active use of different social media platforms.  The policy may also be amended where particular concerns are to be raised or as the result of an incident.

Scope of the Policy

4.1. For the purposes of this policy, social media is defined as any online interactive open, social and/or public communication tool which encourages participation and exchanges.  Common examples include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Currently, CAA International uses, and this policy covers, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our web site and its platform on WordPress, including its blogging feature, but it will be extended and updated as appropriate.

4.2. This policy applies to all officer communications which directly represent CAA International or are placed on one of its platforms. It applies to online public social media communications posted at any time and from anywhere, whether to an individual, a limited group or the world, when posted as a formal representative of CAA International. The policy also covers the use of the CAA International social media platforms by its members and general public.

4.3. CAA International respects privacy and understands that officers may use social media forums in their private lives. However, even if CAA International in general acknowledges that officers’ personal social media communications can include personal and political views that are not shared by all of its members, officers are reminded that good manners, inclusive attitudes and common sense are cornerstones of any interpersonal communication and within the scope of this policy, especially when any views are presented as a comment or reply on any of the official social media channels of CAA International. These general principles – good manners, inclusive attitudes and common sense –  also apply to the members of CAA International.

4.4. Responsibilities as an officer apply regardless of the medium being used.  All social media communications which are presented in an officer role or on the platform account by CAA International might affect its reputation, whether the latter are made either in a private or professional capacity, and must comply with relevant policies which guide officer conduct. Similarly, the members must follow the guidelines regardless of the medium or platform, if they interact within a CAA International account.

4.5. There is additional guidance and/or the latest version of this document on content hosted on the web pages of CAA International available at

4.6. Communications made in an officer status and/or relevant to this policy are those made through official channels using the name of CAA International. All communications, both official postings and replies, members’ responses and interactions by general public, in these channels or platforms are within the scope of this policy (and are subject to the Disciplinary Policy in Section 11).

4.7. Personal social media communications are those made via a private social media account, such as a personal profile, blog or wiki by the officers (all communications by the members and general public are considered personal). These communications are subject to this policy, if made as comments or replies within the channels or platforms of CAA International.  In all cases, where a private account is used which clearly identifies CAA International it must be made clear that the officer is not communicating on behalf of CAA International. An appropriate disclaimer, such as: “the views expressed here are my own”  should be included, especially in the case of those persons directly handling the social and traditional media communications of CAA International.

4.8. Private social media communications, by both officers and members, which do not impact upon CAA International, are outside the scope of this policy, but still within the law and good manners. This policy acknowledges that the laws and customs vary in different countries, worldwide, and different acting officers and members should be sensitive to this fact.

Roles and Responsibilities

5.1. There are clear lines of responsibility for social media use within CAA International.

5.2. The Outreach Officer is responsible for

  • All external communication on the behalf of CAA International, but not to the membership (part of the role of the Membership Secretary)
  • Actively encouraging new areas of membership and the diversity of the CAA community
  • Sharing news, deadlines and advertising CAA International and its activities on selected social media platforms and CAA International website
  • Accepting requests to join a group where appropriate (LinkedIn)
  • Moderating different social media platforms, accepting or rejecting comments where appropriate and blocking, muting or ejecting misbehaving followers/group members depending on the social media platform
  • Advising local organisers of the annual CAA International conference on social media strategies
  • Liaising when needed with the national CAA chapters and advising on social media practices
  • Overseeing our contacts and collaborations with other conferences and academic communities (UISPP, DH, TAG, WAC) and consultation on conference dates and venues with these communities
  • Taking a lead role in responding to and investigating any reported incidents involving social media
  • Setting up a shadow system so that a fellow officer or another delegated person can edit posts
  • Making an initial assessment when an incident related to the official platforms of CAA International is reported and involving appropriate Executive Steering Committee and Steering Committee members together with external agencies if required
  • Maintaining a directory of the social media accounts of CAA International
  • Keeping up to date with technology, platform and policy developments related to any of the channels used
  • Reviewing and updating all relevant documentation
  • Reporting annually to the Executive Steering Committee and to the membership at the AGM

5.3. The Executive Steering Committee of CAA International is responsible for

  • Approving the most recent social media policy document
  • Carrying out an appropriate review of the impact of the engagement in different social media by CAA International in relation to the Outreach Officer report
  • Authorising actions and posts, where designated
  • Overseeing that the Outreach Officer as well as other officers follow the guidance provided and take into consideration any laws, inclusive attitudes, good manners and common sense within a global framework
  • Reporting any issues or outcomes to the Outreach Officer, or escalating the matter to involve appropriate agencies
  • Addressing concerns or questions regarding posts or comments via official and personal accounts, posted by the officers
  • Seeking additional relevant guidance or training if required

5.4. Membership Secretary of CAA International is responsible for

  • Sending out official e-mail communications with the members of CAA International
  • Prompting the Outreach Officer in relation to any deadlines and other relevant events requiring webpage or social media entry

5.5. Information systems manager of CAA International is responsible for

  • Managing the technical aspects of the official CAA International web page and associated information systems
  • Setting up official CAA International Internet domains, e-mail addresses and other online resources

5.6. Officers are generally responsible for

  • Prompting the Outreach Officer in relation to any deadlines and other relevant events requiring webpage or social media entry
  • Agreeing with the Outreach Officer upon the official and event-based use of an institutional account and setting up any event-based accounts
  • Regularly monitoring, updating and managing content he/she has posted via the accounts of CAA International
  • Ensuring that all officers and members attending any events with live or active social media use are made aware of the policies of CAA International, accessible online
  • Making sure the appropriate privacy policies are applied and communicated to all public in any public events where social media is used
  • Adding an appropriate disclaimer to personal accounts
  • Reporting any incidents in line with Section 11 below

5.7. Members of CAA International are responsible for

  • Knowing the contents of this policy and its procedures
  • Ensuring that any use of social media is carried out in line with this and other relevant policies
  • Having appropriate skills if they engage in social media communications
  • Reporting any issues to the Outreach Officer regarding the contents of the official webpage and social media platforms [excluding any technical issues in relation to the web pages or online systems]

5.8. CAA International is a non-commercial society and social media content should be seen as non-commercial, unless specifically naming its sponsors; CAA International does have sponsors for different activities and the content from the sponsors will be named where possible. Other third-party content should be perceived as intended to have as wide participation as possible and open access content is promoted.


6.1. CAA International requires that all officers using social media in their official role adhere to the standard of behaviour as set out in this policy and other relevant policies. The members are expected to follow the guidelines when engaging with any CAA International social media platform.

6.2. Officers and members should not use social media to infringe on the rights and privacy of colleagues or make ill-considered comments or judgments about colleagues. Any criticism of archaeologists, digital practitioners or organisations should be constructive and evidence-based. Any postings raising any issue or particular issues (i.e. as below) should be removed as soon as possible.

6.3. Digital communications by officials as officials must be professional and respectful at all times and in accordance with this policy. Content should not be seen as advertisement and any sponsors of CAA International should be indicated where possible. Unacceptable conduct (e.g. defamatory, discriminatory, offensive, harassing content or a breach of data protection, confidentiality, copyright) by any party on a CAA International social media platform will be considered extremely seriously by CAA International and will be reported as soon as possible to the Outreach Officer as well as the Executive Steering Committee, and escalated where appropriate. Where an incident is reported, refer to Section 11 below. The members or users breaching the guidelines and good manners will be blocked or removed from a platform if appropriate and the members risk losing their membership. The Executive Steering Committee of CAA International will take appropriate action when necessary.

6.4. Where conduct is found to be unacceptable, CAA International will deal with the matter internally, guided by the Executive Steering Committee.  Where conduct is considered illegal, CAA International will report the matter to the police and other relevant external agencies, and may take action according to the Disciplinary Policy in Section 11 below.

6.5. The following general guidelines apply to officers posting content via social media:

6.6. Do:

  • Check with the Outreach Officer initially or with the Secretary of the Executive Steering Committee before publishing content that may have controversial implications for CAA International; the Executive Steering Committee makes official policy decisions on the support of any controversial social media figures or campaigns (to follow, share or retweet)
  • Use a disclaimer when expressing personal views
  • Make it clear who is posting content
  • Use an appropriate and professional tone
  • Be respectful to all parties
  • Ensure you have permission to share other people’s materials and acknowledge the author
  • Express opinions but do so in a balanced and measured manner
  • Manage your social media presence on behalf of CAA International
  • Think before responding to comments and, when in doubt, get a second opinion
  • Consider setting up a shadow system so that a colleague can edit posts, if you are in a senior position in an organisation
  • Seek advice and report any mistakes to the Outreach Officer in the first instance and the Chair of the Executive Steering Committee in more problematic cases

6.7. Do not:

  • Make comments, post content or link to materials that will bring CAA International into disrepute
  • Use the logo or brand image of CAA International on personal accounts
  • Publish personal, confidential or commercially sensitive material
  • Breach copyright, data protection or other relevant legislation
  • Link to, embed or add potentially inappropriate content, be sure to consider the appropriateness of content in relation to a learned public
  • Post derogatory, defamatory, offensive, harassing or discriminatory content
  • Use social media to air internal grievances
  • Present party political or religious views when in the role of an officer

6.8. The following general guidelines apply to the members of CAA International and the users of CAA International social media platforms:

6.9. Do:

  • Use an appropriate tone
  • Be respectful to all parties
  • Ensure you have permission to share other people’s materials and acknowledge the author
  • Express opinions but do so in a balanced and measured manner

6.10. Do not:

  • Publish personal, confidential or commercially sensitive material
  • Breach copyright, data protection or other relevant legislation
  • Post any potentially inappropriate content
  • Post derogatory, defamatory, offensive, harassing or discriminatory content
  • Use social media to air grievances
  • Present party political or religious views on a CAA International platform


7.1. Officers are responsible for ensuring that passwords and other access controls for the social media accounts of CAA International are of adequate strength and kept secure.  Passwords should be regularly changed, and under no circumstances should passwords be shared outside the Executive Steering Committee or key officers. Officers should be familiar with privacy settings and ensure that these are appropriate for both content and intended audience.

7.2. Every effort will be made by the Executive Steering Committee and designated officer or service provider to keep security software up to date. Appropriate security measures will include the use of enhanced filtering and protection of firewalls, servers, routers, work stations etc. to prevent accidental or malicious access of IT systems and social media accounts.

Use of Other People’s Materials

8.1. Sharing content such as images, photographs and video is extremely popular and easy to do via social media sites. While this may have value, there is a real risk of breaching the rights of individuals who own the different media, e.g. image rights, patents, copyright in a blog, or rights associated with collaborative outputs. All officers should ensure they have permission or other justification to share content in this way through the official channels of CAA International or in comments to Facebook or LinkedIn posts or replies to tweets. Content is particularly risky where it is commercially valuable, unpublished, confidential and/or sensitive. Members should similarly take copyright issues into consideration when engaging with any CAA International social media platforms and apply any guidance here where appropriate.

8.2. Some people do not wish to have their image placed online. Thus, the officers must try to ensure that the audience in filmed or photographed events are aware that this filming or photographing takes place and the material will be shared as a promotion. This can be done either in announcements or placing notes at the door, if a lecture or conference. If an individual specifically makes clear they do not wish a photograph to be used, this must be honoured. If a presentation is filmed, the session chair opening the session can suggest where to sit, if one wants to avoid being captured on film. If any event has children present, CAA International will take extra care and try to ensure that any necessary written consent is acquired from a parent / carer.

8.3. Officers will not post any images, photographs, videos, text etc. via social media sites without appropriate permission from the rights holders. If unsure, officers are advised to check permissions attached to digital content prior to posting via social media. When live-tweeting, the officers should discuss the matter with the scholars presenting and if unsure avoid any slides or presentation photos containing specific graphs, photographs or maps.

8.4. Further information and guidance is available from the Outreach Officer (

Personal Information

9.1. Personal information is information about a particular living person. No personal information will be shared via social media sites without consent. Authorised officers posting content or setting up accounts are responsible for ensuring appropriate informed consents are in place. Officers should include their name, their CAA International email and officer status where possible. It is at their discretion whether they wish to post additional contact information. Officers must keep other officers’ personal information safe and secure at all times.  When using social media sites, officers should only with consent publish officers’ personal information.


10.1. CAA International wishes to make it clear to officers and members what our policy contains and the reasons behind it.  We will provide officers and members with additional guidelines and further information on e-safety and effective practice, and the Outreach Officer will be on hand to answer any queries and address any comments.

10.2. Officers authorised to use the social media accounts of CAA International will receive guidance on relevant safeguards and acceptable practice before access is granted, if they have not been involved in approving the previous update of this policy. New, or temporary, officers will also be directed to this policy document and given verbal or written instructions as part of the induction process.

10.3. Additional training may be offered to officers and members on social media practice, if a need arises, during the annual CAA Conference.

Disciplinary Policy: Incidents and Response

11.1. Any breach of this social media policy could lead to some form of disciplinary response. Where a breach of this policy is reported to the Executive Steering Committee of CAA International this matter will be dealt with seriously and in line with the mutually agreed practices. CAA International will act immediately to prevent, as far as reasonably possible, any damage to an individual, their rights or CAA International’s reputation. Any stakeholder or member of the public may report an incident to CAA International. This should be directed immediately to the Outreach Officer and/or Secretary of CAA International.

11.2. Where it appears that a breach has taken place, the Outreach Officer and/or Secretary of CAA International will review what has happened and decide on the most appropriate and proportionate course of action. The clearest of cases will be dealt with by removing the offending content or blocking the issuer from different pages or channels, if possible. Any more serious matters will be discussed first with the Chair and then with the Executive Steering Committee, if a need arises. Where the Outreach Officer considers the incident to be serious, this will also be reported immediately to the Chair of the Executive Steering Committee. If the offender is a CAA International member, the behaviour may result with removing membership.

11.3. Where officers are in receipt of offensive, unacceptable content via social media, this should be reported to the Outreach Officer or e-mail the Secretary of CAA International as soon as possible.

11.4. Where questionable content has been received by CAA International, the Outreach Officer must be informed prior to any response being submitted.

Feedback and Further Information

12.1. CAA International welcomes all constructive feedback on this and any other policy.  If you would like further information on social media, or wish to send CAA your comments on its Social Media Policy, then please contact:

Web pages as a Source of Information

13.1. Nowadays, web pages are not considered as social media although the web pages of CAA International, hosted by an external company, provide a more stable source of information. The home page front, managed within the WordPress blogging server, used as a news service, gives an extra resource to link information to Facebook posts, LinkedIn Conversations and Twitter tweets. CAA International uses the tools provided by the WordPress platform for basic web page posting. The Outreach Officer will keep the news feed up-to-date within the WordPress platform. Any major changes will be incorporated in this policy document.

Facebook Page

14.1. The Facebook page belongs to the organisation, but it is administered by the officials of CAA International through their private accounts. They can swap between acting as private persons and the organisation. For security reasons, holiday and work backup and continuity, it is wise to share the authorisation to access the page between more than one officer, even if the Outreach Officer is considered the responsible one.

14.2. Facebook contains a series of tools that enable registered users to befriend other people, send one another private messages, share photographs and videos and much more. The users cannot befriend a page, but they can ‘like’ it and a page can ‘like’ them. By September 2016 CAA International had exceeded 500 ‘likes’. Facebook and Twitter are differently popular in different countries, with Facebook prominent in the Nordic countries, for example, and Twitter very popular in the Anglo-Saxon world. It is likely that the content will reflect these differences.

14.3. CAA International uses its Facebook page primarily to promote itself as an organisation and give more information about CAA International and its activities. The main outputs are longer original messages that are meant to be Facebook only messages. When possible, the posts from CAA International share an image from its activities, a link to its web page or links to such documents. In addition, the Outreach Officer can post content on relevant conferences, and workshops together with [free] courses, resources, and major PhD positions and jobs. This is the secondary use of this platform and the content should preferably have a relation to CAA International or its conference. The Outreach Officer can be messaged through the messaging service in Facebook in order to prompt posts informing the members of relevant conferences, workshops, [free] courses, resources, PhD position and jobs. Please, do take into consideration that CAA International will try to post content with wide interest and representing different organisations as equally as possible.

14.5. The Facebook Page Insights allow following the impact the page has within Facebook. CAA International will aim at improving general awareness of its activities and membership provision and increase the numbers of page ‘likes’, post views and interaction.

14.6. The tone will be neutral but enthusiastic, and the voice will be that of an international society speaking to its membership and relevant audience with an interest in digital archaeology and quantitative methods, incorporating professional archaeologists, digital heritage practitioners, computing experts and members from community archaeological groups among others, in polite but promotional language. The intended audience is anyone with an interest in digital humanities and archaeology. As specified above, posts will not contain political or religious points, and will strive to be gender neutral and inclusive unless specifically addressing diversity issues – and CAA International will always expect the same standard of behaviour from all people who engage with the page, including its members and own officers.

14.7. Please note that any persons violating the guidelines in Sections 6, 8 and 9 will be blocked from the page. Any person sharing improper material (indecent, derisory, insulting or attacking a named person) in the visitor posts section will be blocked in a similar manner. All criticisms, if any, should be constructive and written in a positive manner.

Twitter Account

15.1. Twitter allows users to post 140 character messages (known as tweets, as indicated above) that are publicly viewable by anyone – including those not on twitter – although users can opt to make their tweets private. Users with Twitter accounts can then follow the tweets of others who they follow (followers/followees). These lists are also almost always public. This makes Twitter a very on-the-spot, real-time mode of communication: an account owner can actively participate to a degree of their choice by replying to tweets, retweeting (sharing tweets sent by CAA International, for example) and addressing tweets to other account owners. Most Twitter users will know in real life only a small portion of those they follow (cf. Hadley and Rayner 2012, 2). In September 2016 CAA International currently has almost 430 followers.

15.2. The account owners can also participate in discussions marking the topic with a hashtag (#). Popular archaeological hashtags are for example #archaeology, #heritage,#digiarch and #dayofarch (Day of Archaeology). These hashtags can be searched in Twitter and other search engines and the reactions and discussions may be read afterwards – helpful in relation to conferences and such events.

15.3. Many archaeologists, organisations, departments and academics use Twitter actively and it is an important tool in sharing information for example during conferences. Active Twitter-using organisations include for example the Archaeology Data Service (@ADS_Update) and Historic England (@HistoricEngland).

15.4. CAA International uses hashtags during its annual conference. Since the acronym CAA is also used by other organisations and they have annual conferences, hashtags using CAA and a year are not exclusive. Thus, a suitable hashtag is created using CAA and the name / or abbreviation of the place where the conference will be organised. The hashtag is agreed upon with the conference organisers who may have local knowledge. The 2017 conference hashtag is #caaatlanta whereas the 2016 hashtag was #caaoslo.

15.5. CAA International will use Twitter for shorter tweets, with images when possible, and selected retweets of those organisations CAA International follows. CAA International can be prompted about the events or content directly relevant to it by including its address ‘@caa_int’ in a post. As with the Facebook account, the content with relevant conferences, workshops, [free] courses, resources, PhD position and jobs will be taken into account. However, CAA International will try to tweet content with worldwide interest and representing different organisations as equally as possible.

15.6. The most regular engagement is aimed to take place during term time and during CAA International’s major events. Some content may be scheduled using Tweetdeck or other interface providing similar service.

15.7. Use of Twitter will be somewhat more informal and instant than Facebook use, but the guidelines in Sections 6, 8 and 9 and in the previous section in relation to Twitter policies stand. Similarly, CAA International expects the same kind of considerate, good-mannered behaviour from its members who engage in CAA International Twitter feed. Any account holders making discriminatory or insensitive comments will be unfollowed or blocked.

15.8. In the first instance, CAA International will follow as many as possible of the relevant archaeological organisations and graduate archaeologists involved in the study and promotion of digital archaeology or quantitative methods. It is worth noting that retweeting does not mean endorsement, only that CAA International acknowledges that a relevant event takes place or that a topic is discussed in digital heritage circles and wishes to make its followers aware of different events or current topics.

15.9. Like Facebook, Twitter has a range of analytics with which we can follow our impact and the public’s engagement.

LinkedIn Group

16.1. So far, the main social media channel of CAA International has been the LinkedIn Group that has over 1,900 members. The LinkedIn Group, similarly to the Facebook page, belongs to the organisation, and is administered by the officials of CAA International through their private accounts.

16.2. The postings to the group take the form of ‘conversations’. The primary content will be the information on the events or deadlines of CAA International and follow its calendar of activities. The group members can initiate conservations directly and pass relevant information on conferences, workshops, [free] courses, resources, PhD position and jobs will be taken into account. Please, note that CAA International and its Outreach will monitor content and approve those conversations flagged by LinkedIn and its software. CAA International tries to allow conversations with worldwide interest and representing different organisations as equally as possible.

16.3. As with Facebook and Twitter, CAA International will monitor contributors’ behaviour and will not allow any behaviour that goes against this policy.


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