Keeping safe on social media

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has recently updated its social media guidance for the workforce, which provides advice for workers on using social media in a way that meets the SSSC Code of Practice. It sets a supportive context for use of social media, which is much welcomed, and it was encouraging to see Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive at SSSC, talk about her own experiences and champion the use of social media in professional practice. She said:

I’m a keen Twitter user and it can be a great way to share information, connect with people and promote what you do. I hope it gives workers the confidence to use social media appropriately and make the most of it to support their professional practice by connecting with a huge range of people and organisations.

At Iriss we have our own internal guidance on social media use, and on reading through SSSC and other guidance from Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), there are a number of tips that are universal to individuals and services.


  • Think before you post – this is the first thing we ask staff to consider at Iriss. If you react and respond without thinking it risks you saying something that you might later regret. Don’t respond in spur of the moment based on emotion (e.g. anger, excitement, anxiety etc). Stop and think.
  • Be aware of the public nature of social media and assume that anyone can read your post. You should avoid posting information or views that could reflect negatively on you, your employer or your profession.
  • Manage your privacy settings carefully and regularly – be aware of who can see your posts.
  • Maintain professional boundaries. Think carefully before accepting friend requests from people who use your service and don’t use social media to discuss confidential information about people and services.
  • Do not post inappropriate or offensive material. Use professional judgement in deciding whether to post or share something.
  • When in doubt, get advice from colleagues or other professional organisations.

Iriss actively promotes the use of social media in social services for learning and development purposes. We recognise that it can support the development of new knowledge, skills and professional networks. Fancy undertaking a short, six-week online course in the use of social media?