I had the pleasure of presenting at Community Services of Greater Brockton on March 4, 2015 to talk about client confidentiality in the age of social media. My colleague, Melanie Sage, has done related work and graciously allowed me to repost her related infographic. Here are some talking points from the Brockton presentation.
General Talking Points:
- It is not a matter of if we use technology, it is a matter of how we use technology
- Social worker voices tend to be missing from conversations and decisions about tech
- Confusion and fear about how to proceed with technology in practice drives avoidance not solutions
- This does a disservice to our clients, who may expect practitioners and services to meet them where they are with technology
- We run the risk of being culturally incompetent with clients
- How can we practice effectively if we don’t understand significant aspects of client’s lives, and this includes technology?
- Social media allows us to have asynchronous, non-geographically bound conversations, interactions, and connections with others
- These interactions can reach more people than ever before, and typically publicly archived
- We can advertise our services, provide the most up to date information for clients, and share research findings related to our practice, etc.
- Social media presents opportunities and challenges for social workers
- To avoid or lessen complications, develop a social media policy
In terms of confidentiality, the following guidelines from the Online Therapy Institute Ethical Framework for the Use of Social Media by Mental Health Professionals are helpful:
- Be upfront about appropriate methods of contact (i.e., text messages, email, public messaging)
- Provide the best level of protection for client data
- Recognize client concerns and be upfront about the challenges and risks involved with security and privacy. For example, if you email me I may have no control if my account is hacked, but here is how I protect your information as much as possible and what I will do if there is a problem. (Source).
- Not discuss confidential information on social media
- Be upfront about avoiding dual relationships on social media
- Have a policy in place if a client discovers on social media mutual friends, interests, or cultural groups with you. For example, I do not friend or follow current students on social media. If students find me, I welcome their conversation and dialogue, and questions.
- Do not ask for reviews on consumer review sites, and do not respond on consumer reviews in any way confirming whether someone is or was a therapy client
- Kolmes, K., Merz Nagel, D., & Anthony, K. (2010). Ethical framework for the use of social media by mental health professionals. Retrieved from http://onlinetherapyinstitute.com/ethical-framework-for-the-use-of-social-media-by-mental-health-professionals/
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Center for Workforce Studies. (2011, February). The tech-davy social worker: Prepared for the challenges of 21st century practice. Retrieved from http://careers.socialworkers.org/documents/TechSavvy.pdf
- Reamer, F. (2011, July 1). Eye on ethics: Developing a social media ethics policy. Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_070111.shtml
- Sage, M., Quinn, A., & Fitch, D. (2014). Use of social media in direct practice. Implications for training and policy. Presented at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting, Dallas, TX. Retrieved from http://melaniesagephd.blogspot.com/2014/02/social-media-and-social-workers.html
- Smyth, N. (2010, September 10). When is cultural incompetence okay? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://njsmyth.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/when-is-cultural-incompetence-okay/
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Here are some resources culled from Twitter hashtag #FergusonSyllabus:
- The Social Work Response to Ferguson: #MacroSW Twitter Chat for October 9, 2014 (via #MacroSW chat archive on Storify)
- Do’s and Don’ts for Teaching About Ferguson (via The Root)
- #FergusonSyllabus and Teaching Resources by Discipline (via City University of New York Office of Career Planning and Professional Development)
- Teaching about Ferguson (via Teaching for Change) – Lessons and content on police brutality, history of racism, international human rights, militarization of police, student fear and resilience, and housing inequality
- Ferguson Syllabus (via Sociologists for Justice)
- Resources for Addressing Ferguson in the Classroom (via Education Week Teacher)
- Teaching the #FergusonSyllabus (via Dissent Magazine)
- #FergusonSyllabus (via The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- #FergusonSyllabus: The #FergusonFiasco and Teaching African American Theology (via Wabash Center Race Matters in the Classroom)
Igniting the Fire: Creating and Sustaining Innovation in Macro Social Work Practice #MacroSW 10/23, 9pm EST
- How do we build macro social work innovation?
- How do we build macro social work in a sustainable way?
- Lots of individual shops, but not working together
- Even when working together, where is quality?
- How can macro social workers become more influential? How can we lead the conversations?
- How can social workers make an impact NOW?
- Development, Impact, & You (DIY): Practical Tools to Trigger & Support Social Innovation
- Innovation in Social Work: Where Does it Come From?
- If Steve Jobs Had Been a Social Worker
#MacroSW chats is a live Twitter chat the focuses on macro social work practice. It takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 9:00 PM EST. The chat is a collaboration between the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), University of Southern California – School of Social Work, the University at Buffalo – School of Social Work, The Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), and Karen Zgoda, Instructor at Bridgewater State University.