It is not difficult to find advice about social media strategies and interactions. On this very blog, we have covered topics such as the staggering statistics supporting chiropractic blogs, how to best market your practice with social media, and how we can help you with our automated chiropractic social media service.
A new study has offered some advice with scientific backing behind it. Two researchers, an engineer and an attorney, went about conducting an analysis of social media interactions on technological discussion boards. Their goal was to determine some trends and issues, especially among participants who are experts in their field and who give professional advice online. The study focused on finding out who is participating in these expert discussions, whether or not participants were even qualified to contribute to discussions, and reviewing the legal issues and liability for those involved in social media interactions.
They found that social media is increasingly becoming a means to discuss, debate, and share ideas and experience.
When addressing the legal implications, the researchers concluded that participation in social media does in fact imply liability for the inquirer, responder, and even the employer of the experts.
Therefore, the study included a recommendation that professionals who wish to participate in social media discussion about their field first seek employer consent. Additionally, it is important to be careful with proprietary information and copyright.
For those seeking opinions from other professionals, it is crucial to verify the trustworthiness of the source before accepting advice. If the contact is someone you do not know personally, you should remain very cautious of their advice.
Interestingly, the study found that there is really no such as thing as a "closed" discussion. Thus, it is imperative that you only post what you are comfortable with absolutely anyone reading, from your colleagues, to your staff, to your clients, to your family.
In conclusion, be careful to exercise your best judgment when you are offering up chiropractic advice or participating in professional discussions online. As the researchers of this study wrote, "You have the reputation of others and yourself at your fingertips."
Vos F. Verbeke S. Sense and nonsense of social media in failure analysis. Engineering Failure Analysis; April 18, 2013 online. doi: 10.1016/j.engfailanal.2013.03.023.