Social Worker’s Guide to Social Media


In the past year, I’ve been asked by many colleagues about where they can find materials related to the use of social media by social workers, especially for social work students. Many of the materials that I have seen developed by schools of social work don’t seem to address the professional use of social media, they mostly caution about private social media use. So we decided, at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, to develop this infographic, with our partner, 12-Grain, who were the creative geniuses on the project. I like infographics as a way to share information, because they get shared much more than text-oriented posts (see Why Visual is the New Black).

Downloadable pdf copies of this infographic are available from the UB Social Work website (on a Creative Commons license) and by the end of April 2015, people will also be able to order paper copies there, as well. Finally, we hope to have some additional background materials (for more information about some of the guidelines) at that site in the future, as well.

Also, each of the titles now has an embedded short video (which are now all on YouTube, too) to help educate viewers — they provide great short prompts for discussion.

A professional from another field (a notary) commented that she thought that this infographic applies to many professionals who use social media — that was good to hear. I agree that these are generally good principles that could apply to many people who use social media in their professional lives.

Thanks to Melanie Sage, faculty member at the University of North Dakota Department of Social Work, and Laurel Iverson Hitchcock, faculty member at University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Social Work, for their feedback on an earlier version. You can check out their blogs (great resources!) here: Melanie Sage, Social Work Geek and Teaching Social Work (Laurel Iverson Hitchcock’s blog).