Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Social Media and Social Work

Imagine you're an exam item writer. You've got to generate a certain number of questions and answers on a deadline. You take a break and check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You return to your work and think, what should I write this next question about? Maybe social work and social media!

This scenario doesn't have to ring true for it to be worth your time to give some thought to the intersection of social media and social work. How can social workers best navigate all the newish decisions regarding relationships with client outside of the professional space. What information is okay to include in email? How do you respond if a client asks to be friends on Facebook? Or a former client wants to connect on LinkedIn? What if that former client regularly refers people to the social worker's practice? What if a client writes a review on Yelp that includes criticism of the social worker never mentioned in session?

Knowing how to respond to these questions is tricky, whether they come up in real life or on the social work licensing exam. Happily--though the NASW Code of Ethics hasn't directly addressed social media issues as of this writing--there is reading and listening to do that will help you figure out BEST answers for the exam and for your social work career.

Here, two articles and a podcast on the topic worth checking out:
Get those skimmed and you're well on your way to being an ethical social work social media user and exam passer! Here's a really quick summary: Don't engage with clients on social media. Avoid dual relationships. Respect privacy. Got it? Great! Good luck!

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