#SocialMedia – what clinicians & care workers really want to know…

#SocialMedia – what clinicians & care workers really want to know…

What do clinicians, social workers and other care workers new to the world of digital really want to know about social media? You might think it would be the joys of online professional networking. Or you might think it would be how social media can be used to enhance day-to-day practice. If so, you might well be wrong – as I found out when delivering a workshop this week.

What I learnt is that first and foremost people need to have their worst fears acknowledged and discussed. And this works best in a training session when they have an opportunity and space to work it out for themselves – with a bit of guidance and support and a few examples.

It’s like the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – you can’t even begin to contemplate self-actualisation if you haven’t even got your basic need for shelter sorted out.

Here are the top five questions in our workshop that people wanted the answer to – I’m hoping you will be kind enough to share your thoughts so I can incorporate responses from people with different points of view into my workshops – people using health services through to health and social care practitioners, managers and digital specialists. I think these will be much more useful and meaningful to people carrying these fears than just from me.

Here goes…

What do I do if someone I support  @mentions to me on Twitter that they are suicidal?

Can a personal Facebook account be completely private? What if I post a picture of me a bit the worse for wear on a night out – isn’t that ok? Don’t I have a right to a private life?

I’m worried – what if someone I support  bad-mouths me or complains about me on social media?

What if I recommend a social media platform to someone I am supporting and something bad happens or it makes them feel worse?

How on earth do I find the time to use social media? Isn’t it just loads of extra work on top of everything else?

I’ve no doubt these questions will result in all sorts of reactions and responses.  For example,  I wonder if people using services will think ‘why on earth do professionals think we’re going to spend our time trying to connect with them on Twitter?

If you’ve got any thoughts, or worked out the answers to any of these questions yourself, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the table below. Big huge thanks to Anne Marie Cunningham @amcunningham for setting up the table for me!


  1. Great questions- just a thought- you could make a google form with these 5 questions and then the responses could be shared/embedded…

  2. I think these were my own worries. Also the fact that so much on social media is a matter of trust – I really have no idea with whom I am conversing, nor do they know me. Any profile can be fabricated. I worry that anyone, myself or a service user can reveal things on social media and then regret it – only to find that there is a record somewhere of this – as happened to the young girl appointed by the police commissioner, called to account for her past tweets years later.

    On the other hand, despite all the concerns, I know that my daughters in their early twenties are impatient with the slowness of legacy systems in an increasingly instant world. As they get older they find it unthinkable that they cannot access clinicians via Skype or cannot instant message their GP. So many of their day-to-day communications are done via instant technology.

    At our Dialectical Behaviour Therapy conference last year our keynote speaker Linda Dimeff from Uni of Washington, Seattle, gave an address on using technology in therapy in the future – this was fascinating. She cited the use of interactive media – e.g. you have a patch that monitors galvanic skin response that can text your phone to remind you to do your breathing exercises. Twtter has real capacity to influence thinking, and it is interesting to see trusts tweeting health advice.

    Thank you for raising this issue. Very thought provoking.

  3. Great post, and I’ll be really interested to follow the results of the survey. I posted about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in social media last year, might be a useful resource to check out, too. I think it’s a great tool for HCP to use to understand where they are in their journey on social media.



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