The Aspirus Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program is a new community program that will be piloted in the neighboring counties of Marathon and Portage during the summer of 2015. When it is launched, 8 months of planning will have gone into the design of the program. Because of the research and evaluation component of our FVRx program, setting up a social media policy is crucial. Social media will be used to deliver education and information to participants throughout the 16 week program. We are using the Social Cognitive Theory to develop every message put out by the program, so setting up a social media policy that allowed the principal investigator to have a final say in the messaging was critical.
The other critical policy to add since research is being done on this program was confidentiality for participants. Participants may reveal identifying information about themselves on the sites if they choose, but FVRx messaging must be generalized to all participants and never reveal any identifying information, or ask any identifying information of participants.
At the same time, we want our messaging to be free and creative. Creative strategies for getting children to eat more fruits and vegetables, creative recipes keeping fruits and vegetables exciting, and creative tips for maintaining the behavior changes we are helping participants to make. So the resulting policy follows:
- Confidentiality for our participants – Never share any personal or identifying information of program participants. If writing a post discussing survey results, the information must be generalized.
- Share program design – Anyone posting on behalf of the FVRx program is encouraged to share details of our program design if asked – we are always looking for input on how to improve our program design by both formal and informal means.
- Link carefully – Because the FVRx program works hard to promote existing materials instead of re-creating, proper copyright and reference laws should be observed when posting messages. Also take care to only link to credible resources, and use professional discretion for YouTube videos and other videos focused on skill building.
- Be warned if your posts get corrected – The principal investigator of the FVRx program reserves the right to edit or amend any misleading or inaccurate content depicted on any of our social media streams. The principal investigator also reserves the right to delete posts that don’t comply with the objectives of the FVRx program.
My hope is that as more community programs use social media as part of their research, we will see more standardized social media policies about posting messaging consistent with behavior change theories, confidentiality for participants, and keeping things fun!