For today's OT Global Day of Service, I have tweeted with a few OT students and professionals about social media for professional use. I feel it's a good topic because a lot of members of the OT community uses social media of some form- Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
It was per the usual crowd who participated in this Twitter chat. As probably the only American in the crowd, it was another wonderful opportunity to chat with my UK colleagues. During the 1+ hours on the chat, we talked about the pros and cons of using social media as well as professionalism on them. Apparently, one interesting conversation we talked about was professionalism on social media. For some people like me, I am rather open on my social media usage. However, for some people, they are more close to the vest and are more particular about what they say or share online. So, the discussion became the following-
1. What is considered professional behavior?
2. What is considered unprofessional behavior?
3. What are some gray areas, if any?
For the first two questions, apparently each person has his/her own definition. Hence, when we moved on to the third question, there were some debates. Back in the days of me as an OT student (which is not so long ago), I remembered I vented a few times on Facebook. Moreover, I saw a good bit of my classmates vented, too. I brought the question up to my UK colleagues. One of the instructors in the audience was surprised by that, as it became an ethical dilemma question. On one hand, we all agree that the behavior is not very good on a professional standpoint. However, the "gray area" comes from the consequences and the context of the situation. After all, OT is a close knit community. If we are very nit picky about professionalism, it is not a way to win many friends in our OT or OTA programs. However, if the action is considered as a serious breach of professionalism, we have to be the whistle blower (or support the whistle blower) in such situations. So, we have to be the judge, even though the action should not be done rashly.
However, as the participants agree, more and more OT professionals are using social media- whether it's connecting with one another, or looking for some pointers. There are some unwritten rules about social media. But, there are some that are open for interpretation.
This caps my summary for my OT Global Day of Service Activity.