A recent case before a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) raised the issue of what may or may not be appropriate for kinesiologists to post on social media. While the panel agreed that kinesiologists are entitled to have a profile on social media, they should first reflect on what they post and who may see it.
If you wish to post articles or items that speak to a certain philosophy or belief, it is important to consider what the general public (which will include potential or existing clients) may perceive it to say about you as their practitioner. For example, if you post articles that speak to the benefits of a vegan lifestyle because that is what you practice, a client that comes to you for general nutrition advice may feel your suggestions are going to be biased. Another example is if you post photos of yourself competing in races or a body building competition. These photos can be revealing and/or intimidating to clients who are not in as good shape. Kinesiologists are often seen as role models. Your social media may have much more information about you than you would want to share with clients or even co-workers. So think twice about who might be looking you up and pause before you post.
It is impossible to predict all the possible perceptions that others may have of you. The College expects you to use your judgement and to consider the perspectives of your own client base. It is always good to think about how you would feel as a client if you saw another regulated health professional post something similar to what you want to post. Regulated health professionals are held to a higher standard of professionalism and if your social media profile is public, this standard applies online.
This is not to say you can’t post these types of items. It may be advisable to ensure your posts are private or use a different name for your social media so that you are not easily searchable.
When reviewing complaints related to social media and deciding whether to take action, the ICRC will look at factors such as:
- Whether or not it would be reasonable for a member of the public to find the post offensive or inappropriate.
- Steps the kinesiologist took to provide context to what they were posting.
- Steps the kineisologist took to make their social media private.
- Steps the kinesiologist took to address the issue, such as removing the post.
We recommend a learning module created by a group of other colleges to guide regulated health professionals on the use of social media. It is not mandatory to complete, but advisable if you are not sure how your social media presence could reflect on your professional image. Complete the module.