Conclusion & Key Messages
What we know about these case studies is that the consequences of posting them was not anticipated at the time of posting. None of them are breaching the law, none of them are obviously likely to be offensive to most people and none of them are immediately obvious as being completely out of line. Yet that is how they’ve been judged. Do we need to delete our social media accounts? Certainly not. But we do need to be cautious and thoughtful about the potential audience that our posting may reach.
Here are some ways that we can be a safer participant of social media:
- Set your security so that public access is restricted. Check your privacy settings.
- Accept the fact that there is no such thing as a private post. If it can be seen by one, it can be shared.
- Our professional image extends to our private life. If we wouldn’t do it or say it in the real world we shouldn’t in the virtual world either. “it was a not meant for public viewing” is not an excuse under the law.
- If you are not at your thoughtful best (tired, emotional, angry, alcohol affected) resist posting.
- Never ever criticise your employer or your colleagues online
- Think about the necessity to post about your work or your placement (if you’re a student). It makes your employer very nervous. It has the same effect on your university.
- Be careful who you friend.
- Read your university’s, AHPRA and professional organisation’s social media policy and adhere to it.
- Never take photos of patients or colleagues without their consent (its better to just not do it at all).
- Be very careful about over disclosure. It can identify things about you that you’ve never thought possible.
- Pictures of cats can be posted safely. Everything else is in a scale of escalating risk. Consider the risk prior to posting.
AHPRA’s Guide to Social Media Usage: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/News/2019-11-11-Social-media-guide.aspx
Amnesty’s Guide to Safe Use of Social Media: https://www.amnesty.org.au/how-to-stay-safe-on-social-media/
Barry, Denis & Marzouk, Fadi & Chulak‐Oglu, Kyrylo & Bennett, Deirdre & Tierney, Paul & O’Keeffe, Gerard. (2015). Anatomy education for the YouTube generation: Online Video Use in Anatomy Education. Anatomical Sciences Education. 9. 10.1002/ase.1550.