Social Media Policy

In This Section

Guidelines for Promoting Discussion on AIAA-Branded Pages

As AIAA has continued to grow its social media presence on an increasing variety of platforms, the number of online uses of the AIAA name and branding has proliferated. There are now scores of AIAA-branded Twitter and Instagram accounts and Facebook pages being operated independently of the main AIAA platforms administered by the headquarters staff.

We are excited by this increased online engagement and believe that, if properly managed, it helps build awareness of AIAA and the important work of the Institute, its members, sections, branches, regions, and committees. The following policies are NOT intended to stifle discussion or curtail the use of social media! Rather, they are guidelines for AIAA members who manage social media sites or post content on AIAA-related sites outlining what is encouraged and allowed, and what might be considered risky or inappropriate content.

Furthermore, the goal is NOT the policing of all AIAA-branded pages or providing editorial comment on—or approval of—the content. It is about protecting the global AIAA brand from harm and the page administrators and managers from unforeseen consequences. If you are not posting content that is offensive, commercial, classified, proprietary, or off-topic – you’re probably doing a great job.

1. The branded AIAA page social media administration and oversight policy shall be as follows:

a. Audience: Your primary audience will be AIAA members or prospective members. That audience includes university students and academics, government employees, engineers, scientists, and amateur space and/or aeronautics and astronautics enthusiasts.

b. Ownership: These accounts are created on behalf of AIAA by staff or volunteers and should be used for business related to the region, section, branch, technical committee, or other subordinate organization(s) named on the account (e.g., AIAA Greater Huntsville Section, University of Maryland AIAA Student Branch, etc.). They are not personal Facebook or Twitter accounts, and professionalism should be maintained at all times.

c. Purpose of AIAA-related social media accounts: The following is a list of items that members should be doing on these forums and outlets:

i. Announcing AIAA events, activities, awards, upgrades, elections, nomination periods, and other organizational communications.

ii. Respecting “embargo” dates and times on awards, upgrades, and election results so as not to get “out ahead” of AIAA headquarters with time-sensitive news and announcements.

iii. Highlighting AIAA member achievements.

iv. Providing a forum to showcase, promote, and describe the organization’s achievements and completed activities. Sharing photos and videos of events is great. We love student outreach, but remember that posting photos of minors (children under 18) often requires the written consent of a parent or legal guardian.

v. Generating interest and promoting AIAA.

vi. Posting and promoting items of interest coming from the national, regional, section, and branch levels of AIAA.

vii. Posting links to interesting aerospace news of the day (e.g., AIAA Daily Launch articles), so long as it is written in a unbiased way, as well as to articles that do not endorse any particular viewpoint, political party, candidate, position, program, or organization. To reiterate, the accounts should remain content-neutral or silent on controversial topics.

viii. Posting information from other professional organizations with a similar mission is permitted.

d. Administrators and Account Access:

i. Social media accounts representing AIAA shall each have no fewer than two volunteer member administrators or “owners” to ensure redundancy and control.

ii. Administrators should ensure that they are educated about AIAA to avoid posting inaccurate or misleading information. As the section, branch, region, or committee’s social media ambassador, people will assume the information provided is accurate so please make sure it is! You can always email headquarters at if you have any questions about the veracity of the information or news you are going to post.

iii. Administrators shall seek counsel from section, region, or committee leadership before posting or tweeting if unsure of the proprietary nature or timeliness of the news or other content.

iv. Section, branch, region, and committee chairs (and other volunteer leaders as designated) shall have access to and maintain account access (logins, passwords, security question answers) to ensure quick access to all section social media accounts.

v. Account passwords should be updated periodically to ensure the security of the account. It is up to the individual page managers how to manage this, but we recommend changing the passwords at least every 90 days. When passwords are changed, all members who have been granted account access must be made aware of the new passwords. Passwords should be at least 11 characters long, alphanumeric, and include at least one special character such as: !, #, ?, &, * ,@, or %.

vi. Passwords should NOT be shared via email as plaintext. Sections d.v and are intended to be a minimum measure of security to avoid pages becoming compromised.

vii. If an account is compromised, the password should be changed immediately.

e. Prohibited Actions: The following is a general list or things that should not be done on—or through—these forums or outlets:

i. AIAA-branded accounts shall not follow accounts that do not represent AIAA’s professional or core values. While we cannot control who follows or likes AIAA accounts, we can control who we follow or like. See “Our Core Values” for a description of the Institute’s core values.

ii. No profanity or slurs of any kind shall be allowed or tolerated on AIAA-related accounts.

iii. Postings shall be in harmony with AIAA policy statements. AIAA social media accounts shall remain neutral and/or silent on any controversial topic including partisan politics or political/candidate debates. This does not proscribe advocating for the industry per AIAA policy but does preclude endorsing individual political candidates through AIAA-branded outlets. Additionally, officers of AIAA Regions, Sections, Branches, and Committees may identify themselves as such where it promotes the Institute or an overall understanding of aerospace science and technology, but not to publish unrelated material.

iv. It is great to share highly technical information, however, make sure that it comes from a reputable source and is not intended to be private or proprietary in nature. This is mainly achieved by using common sense. CNN, Wired, Gizmodo, a university or scientific source, NASA, etc., are great sources of content for pages. Proprietary material such as conference slides—unless shared by the author/presenter—or company documents should not be shared on AIAA-related social media pages.

v. Commercial use of pages is not allowed. Pages should not be used to promote or sell specific companies or products with a commercial goal. This has a fairly broad meaning – anything from a t-shirt to a fighter jet could fall under this policy. We expect page managers to use their discretion as to what constitutes commercial use and defer to leadership on a case-by-case basis if there are questions.

vi. AIAA-branded accounts shall not be used to post personal content or off-topic material. These are professional society accounts, not personal accounts, and should be treated as such. Humor and school spirit posts can be germane so long as context is related to aerospace or AIAA in some way and done in good taste. In general, the goal is to keep the posts on topic and related to aerospace and AIAA activities. Be relatable and build an audience, but don’t spam or direct users to websites loaded with ads and malware to increase traffic.

2. AIAA accounts shall not be used for online harassment (“trolling”). The administrators shall also never respond in-kind to people attempting to “troll” or generate arguments within threads the account generates. The accounts shall never call out any individual by name except in recognition of a professional achievement, accolade, or significant career event or milestone. There are already many laws and policies in place regarding this type of unacceptable speech on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and AIAA will defer to their policies for this type of inappropriate content should a problem occur. We trust our members to use their good judgment and err on the side of caution and respect with their posts.

3. If a commenter uses their personal account to respond to an AIAA page using inappropriate language, that comment may be hidden or deleted. Likewise, racist, sexist, obscene, or other derogatory comments will not be tolerated by AIAA and will be hidden or deleted.

4. Comments that are merely disagreeable but not offensive will be allowed to remain. It is not our job to censor opinions on different programs, technologies, or policies as long as they are presented in a professional and polite manner.

5. The posting or tweeting of Classified, Sensitive But Unclassified, proprietary, Personally Identifiable Information, or procurement-related information is strictly prohibited.

6. Consequences of Social Media Policy Violations: Follow this policy to protect your reputation and career from potentially negative consequences. AIAA would prefer to work with the Regions, Sections, Branches, and Committees to create content that is accurate and germane rather than police a problem after it has occurred. Do not hesitate to reach out to leadership with questions should they arise.

a. Willful or negligent violations of this policy can expose you to disciplinary actions.

b. Violation of the prohibition against transmitting classified or sensitive information can expose you to criminal prosecution by local, state, and federal governments. We expect members to use their discretion and expertise to determine what type of information may be publicly shared.

7. Questions: Contact with any questions about this policy.

8. Duration: This policy shall remain in effect until revised. The policy shall be reviewed each December with respect to new forms of social media and updated as needed to remain current and relevant.

9. This policy directive shall be made available to the relevant organization members via the website.

10. Have fun!