I’ve been embroiled in a rather frustrating conversation with a person who I originally engaged with on the basis they seemed to be attached to an NHS Trust. I’m afraid I have no copy of the original Tweet, but he responded to one of my regular Tweets offering Social Media Training to NHS Trusts to say that in his meeting with his Trust next week he would ask them to consider hiring me.
Over the course of a series of conversations, I became concerned that this individual was claiming to be a mental health advocate and offering advice to vulnerable people online, but without the transparency expected of health professionals in this space.
Please see this cache from Google on 18/07/12 at 18.32 showing the details of the Twitter profile information (now changed). What concerned me was the perception that advertising oneself as a person “with a background in mental health issues such as the code of practice-the mental health act-and investgater(sic) in complaints from…”
The conversations had over the past few days alarmed me becuse the man I had originally thought of as an NHS professional appeared to be something quite different. I was concerned that he didn’t seem to understand gentle reminders about plagiarism, about attribution of content shared online, or other features of e-professionalism that all professionals should be aware of.
I began to be more suspicious as he constantly evaded my attempts to place him in terms of a role (we health professionals lie to put people in boxes- I put my hands up to that- there could be better ways to assess people!), and I was concerned that he could be offering advice based on a limited understanding of basic concepts in mental health such as Capacity and Detention.
Please see this Storify of our complete conversation: Storify conversation with @MikeGargett
So, I now face the prospect of an HPC hearing to determine fitness to practice. How do I feel about it?
- I feel that I practiced with an appropriate degree of professionalism, that would be reasonable to expect from an equivalent person of my profession in the situation. I therefore feel that the eventual decision would go in my favour.
- I’m not relishing the process. I imagine it would be stressful and complicated to go through the process, although a small part of me is excited by the possibilities of exploring the ethics of e-professionalism in this context.
- I’m aware that at one stage in the conversation, I did express frustration, and Tweeted in CAPS LOCK. This is the internet equivalent of shouting, and it was discourteous of me. It’s important to “fail fast” when one is iterating new forms of practice, and this is another lesson for me. I would _never_ shout at someone I met in practice in real life (even if I were irritated with them), so why did I do it in social media? I shouldn’t have done, and I will now have to apologise.
- I was accused of name calling and I’m confident that I didn’t resort to personalising the behaviour I was highlighting in the conversation.
- Other health professionals were involved in the conversation, so I can feel confident that I could call on them as witnesses if needed.
- I’m grateful for my knowledge of tools such as Storify, because when something like this happens, it’s important to check and check again to see where the conversation turned sour. If I had never SHOUTED, would I now be in this situation? I don’t know, but it is worth remembering. Actions have consequences.
- I’m exploring this process within the public domain. I made a commitment to myself that I would aim for transparency in what I’m attempting to do, and I take that commitment seriously. This could back-fire, spectacularly, but could also inspire other OTs out there to take the leap into social media- after all, learning from my mistakes means they don’t have to make the mistake themselves!
What do you think?
Storify of all conversation around these issues: Full conversation on Twitter
Blogs by Stuart Sorensen:
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