While new media like Facebook, listserves, and personal blogs provide inexpensive ways to reach clients, colleagues, and referral sources, they also carry significant risks. Consider these guidelines when using these tools:
1. Never assume that privacy settings provide complete protection.
2. Once you post on a listserv or tweet, these messages may persist on the web indefinitely. Worse case, damaging messages could go “viral.”
3. Never post identifiable patient information online.
4. Ensure that information about yourself, your practice, and the field is accurate and professionally appropriate.
5. Maintain the same clinician-client boundaries online that professional ethics require in person.
6. If you post personal information online, separate it from content describing your credentials and practice.
7. Remember that your actions and posted content online can negatively impact your reputation, your career, and public trust in the field. This caution is routinely violated on listserves, where the illusion of privacy invites unprofessional exchanges.