This morning I saw (and participated in) a thread on Reddit about social work and social media and it left me with many questions, please help me out!
(This is a quickly written post I might delete in a while but I wanted to see if I could get some other people’s thoughts)
So the original poster was a social work student and they explained that their professor had told them that social workers have to delete all of their social media. Now, perhaps this poster was exaggerating. I personally do not see anything wrong with having a Facebook account so long as you do not add clients and your profile is private.
I wrote a comment saying that all my social media is locked down, but I would hate to give up my blog. Someone else replied stating that they had to terminate an intern who refused to give up their blog.
My blog is very important to me. I feel like it has been so helpful for me to learn how to share my voice, my opinions and my art. This has been a project that has allowed me to participate in activism and develop my opinions about a lot of things. Because of my future career, and my personal obligations I cannot be that activist who is at the front lines getting arrested for protesting, but what I can do is share my own stories, thoughts and reflections on what is happening around me.
I never include any client details or too much of my family’s details. I like to think I have done a good job keeping private things private, but I have used my real name ‘Hali’.
It is possible that a future employer might find this website and take issue with it. I have written a lot of posts that critique social work, are vaguely political or otherwise just state my opinions. (Iconic Photos of Indigenous Movements, The Astral Plains, Decolonizing My View of Social Work, among others…). Although there is nothing I am embarrassed about in relation to this blog.
The commenter who wrote about having to terminate their intern suggested I remove my name, go by a fake name, make my blog private and/or stop including my personal opinions into it.
I can understand going by a fake name. That would protect whatever organization I work for, as well as myself from unwanted attention. Perhaps someday I will shut down this blog and start a new one that is not attached to my name.
However, I personally cannot understand how you can have a blog without putting your personal opinion into it. How can you write about books, movies, current events or even food without embedding your own perspectives and experiences into it?
I also cannot understand how an employer would require me to keep my opinions private. I understand that I should not be preaching all of my opinions and ideas all the time while I am at work. But on my own blog, I want to be able to share my own thoughts. Especially when I want to critique social work itself because how will I help it to better serve Indigenous people if I cannot freely critique it.
Ultimately, I am someone concerned with addressing social issues first and a social worker second. Of course, I will do what I have to do to get and maintain a job. However, I came into social work to change it so that it helps Indigenous families better, and in order to do that, I think I need the space to be a vocal critic.
But really the reason why I am sharing this post today is that I want to get your opinions on this. Are you a social worker with a blog? How do you balance your blog posts with privacy issues? Does your employer know about your blog? Would they care? If you are an employer or someone in charge of hiring, do you care if someone has a blog? Also, I am curious to know the answers even if you don’t work in the social work field.