The internet and social media provide social workers unprecedented opportunities to educate communities, to advocate for disadvantaged populations, to raise awareness about their professional services, and to establish themselves as experts in their specialty areas. Because people are increasingly looking online for health-related information and information about doctors or other health professionals, developing a strong online presence is increasingly important to social workers. Six guidelines for ethical professional social media use for social workers will be presented as suggestions for applying the Code of Ethics in the digital world.
• Define social media
• List the 5 most social media platforms most widely used by adults in the US.
• Identify 3 common ethical dilemmas facing social workers who use social media personally or professionally.
• List 6 guidelines for ethical social media use by social workers based on the NASW Code of Ethics.
Julie de Azevedo Hanks is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, author, relationship expert, media contributor, private practice consultant, owner of Wasatch Family Therapy where she currently serves as its executive director. Hanks also serves on the national NASW SPS Private Practice Board. Her advice has been featured in top-tier media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, TLC, Fox News, and Discovery Health. Hanks’ consults with mental health therapists about growing their private practice through ethically building an online presence by embracing technology, media, and social media. Due to her prolific content creation and engaged social media following, Dr. Oz’s ShareCare named Hanks the #1 depression influencer and the #2 mental health expert on the web. Hanks is a PhD Candidate in marriage and family therapy, and a wife and mother of 4 children.