There’s a big debate in the therapy world: to social media (as yourself), or not. Many people I’ve seen talk about ‘how to keep yourself safe (by which they mean anonymous) online. Being careful to lock your facebook down, not having your name on your twitter etc.
I decided to go the other way. My facebook is relatively locked down, but it’s more personal than anywhere. Still, if you know my name you can find me, and I have therapy people on there as well as friends. I do wish they would let you customise things a bit more though. But I run a trainee group on facebook and one on email as well, and I use my real name everywhere. The irony is that I am much more open now than I was before I started this path, and that continues to surprise me.
My twitter account is here. please feel free to follow me.
I have another twitter that is almost entirely separate. Only a couple of people that I know well are on both, and it doesn’t link to my name, my location or anything else. Likewise, I have other personal parts of me on the web that don’t have my name and never will – for those, my name isn’t important. I don’t market myself for therapy through twitter, but I don’t see myself changing my account when I go into private practice. This is who I am – the professional me. I once accidentally found one of my therapists on twitter. Their name was unusual and i found them by accident (they had replied to one of the big people in psychotherapy and it came into my timeline). As I scrolled through their tweets to double-check, I saw that they called a family member ‘a slag’. I brought it up in therapy, but it wasn’t the reason I left. I think that so far, I would stand by everything I have written.
I also have a linkedIn account under my name. If you know my full name it’s easily findable. Presently I don’t market my placement through twitter, but when I go into private practice I might. At that point, my name might be listed as my full name. If clients find me, that’s ok. This is me. I am sharing myself more than I am sharing anything; I am certainly not sharing them. If we need to have a conversation, that’s fine. Much like last week’s post about disclosures we make ‘by accident’ (this week I am wearing a rainbow necklace. Friends bought it for my birthday. I don’t change my jewellery often, so I’ll probably still be wearing it when I next see clients. Some of them might ask. they might not. We’ll see), although these are disclosures I make on purpose, there may be moments where I have professionally done something stupid because I am a human being. If that’s the case, we can talk. And if we can’t talk and the client moves on, I will probably be sad, and will learn from the interaction. But mostly I try to be careful about what I do online.
I think my message here is: Be yourself. On purpose.
If you can’t be your (named) self, that’s fine too, but the problem comes with quasi-anonymity, when you think you’re anonymous and you do something daft. Try not to do that 🙂