Virtual Boundaries: Ethical Considerations for Use of Social Media in Social Work
Virtual Boundaries: Ethical Considerations for Use of Social Media in Social Work (Commentary)
Ericka Kimball, PhD, MSW, is assistant professor, Augsburg College, 2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454,
JaeRan Kim, MSW, is a doctoral candidate, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, St. Paul.
Society has become more interactive through increased access and use of the Internet and social media tools. Web 2.0 moved the Internet beyond information storage to a place where discourse takes place (Sawmiller, 2010). Social media, Internet tools that facilitate online interactions, have the potential to further expand such discourses. Social networks (for example, Facebook, Google + , LinkedIn), blogs (for example, WordPress, Typepad), and microblogs (for example, Twitter, Tumblr) are types of social media tools that allow people to connect and share information in an online space. People use social media tools to report information, present opinions, and solicit conversation through their own domains or dedicated websites. All of this online interaction, enabled further by increases in smartphone and networked tablet devise usage, poses the potential for personal and professional lives to cross in social media spaces.
Existing literature has focused on the ethical challenges of social media in professional practice with clients, use of social media as an expansion of research, and for online learning (Eccles, 2010; Giffords, 2009; NASW & Association of Social Work Boards [ASWB], 2005). However, the conversation around ethical use of social media, outside the client–professional relationship, is missing. Areas in which greater discussion is needed include advising students and setting agency policies on ethical uses of social media and on the effects of personal use of social media among professional relationships.
This article is about creating virtual boundaries—the limits social workers place to guide their social media use—to create intentional online personas and about the effects of social media use in the intermingling of personal and professional lives. Social workers need to be aware of the identities they create and maintain in the realm of social media because of ethical codes and policies. The various forms and uses of social …
Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT
After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.