Online professionalism and Facebook – Falling through the generation gap

Via a tweet I found this recently published article:

Osman, A., Wardle, A. & Caesar, R. (2012) Online professionalism and Facebook – Falling through the generation gap. Medical teacher. Available online at:

Although the survey reported is about medical professionals a lot of the findings are comparable across other disciplines and their conclusions are worth sharing with anyone interested in digital readiness:

“Professionals lack awareness of their professional vulnerability online. They are not careful in restricting access to their posted information and are not mindful that the principles of professionalism apply to SNSs.”

At the heart of all such conclusions must be the fact that nowadays your identity is made up of how you act in face-to-face situations and how you act online, it is not possible to draw a fence around one and say that is different.

So if we think it is important to educate our staff and students about professionalism we shouldn’t separate out “online” and leave it to be dealt with separately, later or not at all.

We should also remind them it isn’t possible to draw complete bounds between our professional identities and our private ones.

Multiple identities

About Shirley Williams

Shirley Williams is a National Teaching Fellow and Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Reading. She is involved in a number of research projects related to learning technologies, communities, social networks, Digital identity and knowledge transfer. She also enjoys reading and cooking.
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