Social media and networks in health and social care
Social media and networks in health and social care

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Social media and networks in health and social care

2.2 Reflecting on your digital footprint

Research has shown that many professionals and students training to be a professional have ‘awareness’ of their digital footprint but when they actually examine what they share online they are surprised by the amount of information that is available (Ryan, 2017a, b). The next activity will ask you to reflect on the type of information you share with the public in social media.

Activity 6 Assessing your own use of social media

Note: if you do not have a social media account then you should complete the ‘alternative’ activity which follows this one.

Choose one of your personal social media profiles to focus on as part of this activity:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Once you have chosen one of these answer the questions in the following interactive.

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Now, put yourself in the position of someone visiting your profile who doesn’t know you. Answer the same questions from their perspective, and at the end of the activity you’ll see how their perspective differs from yours.

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Discussion

You might have been surprised by the things that you thought would be available to the public, compared with those that were (i.e. what you thought you shared versus what you actually share and what information about you is actually available to the public). You might now decide to change your privacy settings or behaviour online as a result of this activity. You should check and update your privacy settings frequently, especially if platforms have made amendments or updates to these policies. You can revisit this tool at anytime in the future to help you think about what you ‘think’ you share compared to what you ‘actually’ share.

Alternative Activity 6

Undertake this activity if you cannot complete the activity above.

  1. Identify at least two health and social care organisations in your region, this could be an NHS trust, charity, care home or private organisation such as BUPA.
  2. In your web browser, search for the name of the organisation.
  3. Note down any social media profiles the organisation uses and have a look at some of the ‘user reviews’ if there are any available.
  4. Open at least one of the social media pages for this organisation and look at some of the recent posts, then complete the table below. If user reviews are available for the organisation, have a look at some of the most recent.
  5. Complete stages 1–4 for the second organisation you selected.

Make some notes in answering these questions.

Question Organisation 1 Organisation 2

What types of information are available?

(e.g. is it promoting its service, success stories, health information?)

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What are your immediate thoughts about this information and has it changed your opinion of the organisation?

Do you feel that they reflect positively or negatively on the organisation?

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Why do you think you feel this way?

How would this make you feel about using the services of this organisation?

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If you were to make three recommendations to this organisation about their online presence what would they be?
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Discussion

You might have noticed the range of information available – many organisations share information about their services, staff and promote different areas of health and social care. You will find that there are lots of organisations who use Twitter and that they link with different people and other organisations using # and @ in their posts. Some organisations also have staff profiles; for example, you will find that some Open University academics have staff profiles that give some background information, research activity and academic work.

If you found user reviews about your chosen organisation, you will most likely have found a ‘mixed bag’ with some positive and some negative. You should think carefully about the reviews you read on such platforms as it is not always possible to determine the accuracy and integrity of the content. However, this type of social media is becoming increasingly popular and can give an oversight of the performance of the organisation.

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