MANUSCRIPT: Social media guidelines and best practices: recommendations from the council of residency directors social media task force
Social media has become a staple of everyday life among over one billion people worldwide. A social networking presence has become a hallmark of vibrant and transparent communications. It has quickly become the preferred method of communication and information sharing. It offers the ability for various entities, especially residency programs, to create an attractive internet presence and “brand” the program. Social media, while having significant potential for communication and knowledge transfer, carries with it legal, ethical, personal, and professional risks. Implementation of a social networking presence must be deliberate, transparent, and optimize potential benefits while minimizing risks. This is especially true with residency programs. The power of social media as a communication, education, and recruiting tool is undeniable. Yet the pitfalls of misuse can be disastrous, including violations in patient confidentiality, violations of privacy, and recruiting misconduct. These guidelines were developed to provide emergency medicine residency programs leadership with guidance and best practices in the appropriate use and regulation of social media, but are applicable to all residency programs that wish to establish a social media presence.