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Social networking in work-based contexts - issues and considerations for practice

I am interested in how social work practitioners are starting to use social networking tools to...

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Ingrid Nix
19 April 2010

I am interested in how social work practitioners are starting to use social networking tools to interact with colleagues and service users and carers. I am particularly interested in identifying:

  •  how social workers perceive these tools enhance their practice ( delivering better outcomes for service users and carers) - what do they use them for?
  • what ethical and other issues might arise from their use in respect of confidentiality, professional identify formation, etc.

For instance, what happens if a social worker reveals a part of their personal identify and 'private' values through what they post on a social networking site, such as Facebook? If this is accessed by service users, might this information be used to call into question the professional values of the social worker, possibly even to remove them from practice? Equally the social worker might access information about service users within a personal networking site which might influence their decision-making, affecting a potential outcome for that service user.

1. How can we as educators best prepare our practice learning students for sensitive and effective use of such technologies?

2. What underlying frameworks can we provide to 'protect' them or shape best practice?

All ideas welcome!

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