Social media channels are internet based platforms that allow users to create and share content. Popular examples in the UK include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. For the purpose of these guidelines, we are including blogs as a type of social media. Mailing lists such as Jiscmail are also included since they share a number of the characteristics of social media listed above.
Because these accounts are in your name and reflect upon your personal and professional conduct it is important that when you tweet from, or write on, these accounts you are mindful that they will be seen as written by you as a member of your profession and probably also reflect upon your organisation even if they are not giving a formal statement on behalf of that organisation. Even statements made on a personal account, outside of work time, may lead to a complaint to the RCT if it appears that you have breached the RCT Code of Professional Conduct.
You may find the following principles helpful:
- Quality and accuracy – to ensure your Twitter account/Facebook page/blog gives a good impression of your position make sure content is well written (check for spelling mistakes) and updated regularly. Double check any facts and make sure links are working before you tweet them.
- Non-discriminatory – never post, tweet (or re-tweet) anything that could be deemed to be offensive, derogatory, bullying or harassment.
- Respecting confidentiality – never post, tweet (or re-tweet) anything that might reveal the identity of a patient, directly or indirectly. Remember that a person can be identified without being named. Additionally, never post, tweet (or re-tweet) anything that might reveal confidential information or intellectual property.
- Respecting copyright – never use someone else’s images or content without their permission.
- Respecting privacy – do not publish pictures or images of others without their consent.
When commenting on social media it is important to be clear that you are not speaking for and/or on behalf of the RCT or any of the professional bodies that manage the register. The RCT and the PSA Accredited Register logos should not be used on personal social media accounts.