Social Media and the Common Good

IMAGE ACQUIRED FROM FIGURE 1 WEBSITE
IMAGE ACQUIRED FROM FIGURE 1 WEBSITE

Social media, regardless of whether we are willing to admit it, touches every part of our lives. In taking the Strategic Social Media course, it has come to my attention social media platforms can be utilised for a significant number of purposes, not just circulating photographs and video clips of cats doing the cutest things imaginable.

As part of the course, we were tasked with writing a number of blogs pertaining to the use of social media platforms. In the course of conducting research on the topic, the graduate student happened upon an article pertaining to Figure 1.[1] Figure 1, a medical diagnostic tool, was invented by Dr. Joshua Landy, a Canadian Internist and Critical Care Medicine Specialist.

Photo Credit: Joseph Czikk
Photo Credit: Joseph Czikk
DR. JOSHUA LANDY, CO-FOUNDER OF FIGURE 1 – IMAGE ACQUIRED FROM DOCTOR PRENEURS WEBSITE
DR. JOSHUA LANDY, CO-FOUNDER OF FIGURE 1 – IMAGE ACQUIRED FROM DOCTOR PRENEURS WEBSITE

The social media based app Landy, a doctoral M.D. graduate of the University of Western Ontario, developed allows doctors from all corners of the globe to consult with each other on accurately determining problematic diagnosis.[2] [3] With the social media platform Landy developed not being the only one currently in use by medical practitioners, the primary focus of this paper is therefore the application of social media platforms to serve the “common good.”

Before we can thoroughly discuss of social media platforms are used, we first have to determine exactly what it is we mean by the term “common good.” What exactly is the common good? The “common good,” as listed in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is defined as “that which benefits society as a whole, in contrast to the private good of individuals and sections of society.”[4] The common good, as an aspect of Western politics, has been self-evident for centuries. Interestingly, whilst modern conservatives might consider the common good as being un-American, there is nothing more quintessentially American as the common good.

Photo Credit: Amazon
Photo Credit: Amazon

The publication of The Federalist Papers, evidence of how important the common good was in the crafting of what would ultimately become known as the Constitution of the United States. The Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, was penned as a defence of the intended constitution. Madison writes:

“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.”[5]

With the common good clearly defined, we should determine why it is people have embraced the use of social media platforms with the same intensity one might associate with addicts of one kind or another.

Have any social media platforms been used to serve the common good? Based on the readings reviewed during the past few weeks, there is evidence conclusively confirming that social media platforms are being used to serve the common good. Designed by a medical doctor for use by medical doctors, Figure 1, an Instagram-esk diagnostic tool, is not the only app available to medical practitioners. There are many other apps available for mobile devices.

Photo Credit: Apple’s The App Store
Photo Credit: Apple’s The App Store

According to Capterra, a website designed to help businesses find the right software for their needs, when it comes to the top of the line medical apps on the market today, Epocrates is “the gold standard.”  The download is free; however, there is an in-app purchase charge of $159.99 a year. Considering the cost of the app, available for both iOS and Android phones, this graduate student would expect nothing less. A highly popular app, “with millions of downloads across [these United States], doctors are using this app” to not only review drug information but also interact with other medical professionals.

The aforementioned website also recommends apps such as UpToDate, Doximity, Read by QxMD, NEJM This Week, Isabel, DynaMed Mobile and Medscape, have been designed for medical professionals to use.

Each of the apps have specific functions which aid doctors in their respective daily duties. The mentioned apps, not that there are not any on the market, are not designed for patients to interact with doctors.

According to Professor Poonam Malhotra Kapoor, Department of Cardiac Anaesthesia,[6] “Social Media is one such technology which has had a massive effect on making the world increasingly shrink to become a hub of global knowledge reach more people and increase readership. This makes us all medical professionals across the world, sail in the same boat of social.”[7]

When Kapoor was speaking of “all medical professionals across the world, sail in the same boat of social,” she may have been referencing how websites such as The Social MEDia Course  makes medical education and knowledge available to those that would not normally have access to it. As we have discovered with the use of Figure 1, there are significant benefits which can be garnered from the integration of social media based platforms into standard operating procedures for medical issues. People suffering with diabetes[8] have apparently found great comfort from joining online communities, such as groups found on Facebook.

Even though there are many benefits which can be garnered from the use of social media based platforms within the medical field, there are just as many dangers. The dangers are touched upon in the article “Dangers and Opportunities for Social Media in Medicine,” published in the third issue of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, volume 56.[9]

In citing the work of numerous scholars in the same field, the assistant professors that penned the article Dr. Daniel R. George, Ph.D., M.Sc, Dr. Liza S. Rovniak, PhD, MPH, and Dr. Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, argue:

“The dangers posed by social media are myriad. If used recklessly, the technology can blur professional boundaries, serve as a conduit for the display of unprofessional behavior, contribute to building an irreversible online image, open the door for fines, litigation, and imprisonment, and serve as a massive time drain.”[10]

George, Rovniak and Kraschnewski are not the only people concerned by social media being used in the medical field. These findings are supported, at least in part, in an article penned by Mark Terry.

Twittering Healthcare,” as Terry writes in his article of the same title, is a concern everyone should have an integral role in making sure social media is used as an effective tool for the greater good. Terry points out that social media as a role to play in our lives; however, he questions the use of it within the medical field. For Dr. Daniela J. Lamas, M.D, it was a chance meeting with an individual in a bar and a subsequent Facebook “Friend Request.”

In 2010, Lamas penned the article “Friend Request,[11]” published in The New York Times Magazine, in which she writes:

“‘Are you on Facebook?’ he asked me. ‘I’ll friend you, and you can see the pictures.’ That night, I went online and found the friend request. I clicked on his name. There he was, I thought, though not with swollen cheeks and belly, wasted arms and legs. … He’d been sending upbeat status updates from the I.C.U.; to read them, you’d never know he was so sick, but to me they were missives from a dying man. My rotation in the I.C.U. ended soon after this, and I didn’t see him. But when I couldn’t sleep, sometimes I found myself opening his Facebook page, reading those status reports, glancing at his photos. Meanwhile, I learned that his kidneys were no longer working, that he kept spiking fevers, that he hadn’t received a transplant.”

Lamas questioned the ethical dilemmas of following a patient on a social media platform. Lamas indicated there were no direct guidelines explicitly forbidding interaction with a patient via a social media platform.

The act of interacting with a patient over social media is ethically questionable. One could argue that social media is merely another means of communication a doctor could utilise; however, social media is by no means just another avenue for communication. Social media has a place in society. This much, based on the level of use we find journalists engaged in, is true. The issue at hand is whether or not doctors and other medical professionals are able to adhere to their required ethical standards whilst utilising such communication means in their daily routine.

According to David Lee King, the digital services director at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, people use social media platforms to develop connections with likeminded individuals. King writes:

“Think about your own use of social media for a second. Why do you use it? Most likely, you use social media to connect. You might want to stay connected to friends and family. Maybe you have a favorite hobby and want to discuss it with people who share similar interests. Maybe you have a favorite rock band or TV show and want to stay up-to-date with it. Your community has similar interests.”[12]

The point of view King has presented, a logical one, is substantively true in that evidence of this can be seen in various social media platforms.

Twelve-step-programs, such as A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) and N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous), are not organisations which one would expect to see engaged in or even implementing the use of social media platforms as a standard operating procedure. The reasoning for this expectation, a logical one considering the nature of what the word anonymous means, can be seen in the wording of both the eleventh and twelfth traditions of twelve-step-programs.

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

The Eleventh Tradition[13]

“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

The Twelfth Tradition[14]

Whilst Friends of Bill W., the self-referencing name members of A. A. use amongst ourselves when in the company of non-members, has a significant online community within both Facebook and Twitter, neither community promotes itself to attract followers and or members. That would be a violation of both the eleventh and twelfth traditions.

The truth is many twelve-step-programs have significant social media presences. You might be wondering how twelve-step-programs pertains to the issue being studied, the incorporation of social media into serving the common good. How exactly does a twelve-step-program incorporate social media whilst at the same time maintain the anonymity of the members? How does this serve a medical need? Many times within the A.A. texts, alcoholism is referenced as being a “malady.”[15] [16] Alcoholism, being considered a malady, at least partially satisfies the requirements of establishing itself as being a medical issue. The social media presence individual twelve-step-groups have is typically set to private, an example of which is the group pages on Facebook. The content of these pages can only be seen by current and former members of the groups.

As intimated in this research paper, there are significant ethical considerations one must take it to account when using social media style for medical purposes. For those living in these United States, this is essentially when HIPAA[17] kicks in. There is a vast number of scholarly articles covering patient privacy[18] [19] [20] issues and how social media, if used inappropriately, can be detrimental to that privacy.[21] One such article pertaining to patient privacy and social media is was penned by Sara Simrall Rorer. Rorer, a partner at Taft Law, eloquently discussed in her article titled Social Media and HIPAA Privacy Concerns for Healthcare Providers how to address issues healthcare providers and patients have with using social media as part of medical practice.

In her article, Rorer presented a number of hypothetical scenarios, which if played out in reality, could give certain parties cause to file for legal action. One such scenario, pertaining to a registered nurse working in an Orthopaedics Department of Large Hospital System, discussed the use of Facebook between colleagues working at the same hospital. The scenario goes thus:

On May 4, 2011 “Mary,” using her personal Smartphone and after work hours, posts on her Facebook webpage (after describing her daughter’s soccer game and shopping excursion earlier that day) the following: “I just met [Famous Football Player]! Such a nice guy! Nbot [sic] bad on the eyes too!” Later that same day (May 4, 2011), in response to a “Friend’s” question Mary responded: “He came in for a broken [arm].” Meanwhile, one of Mary’s Friends, “Susan,” responded to Mary’s original post with a simple “Likes” reply.

In order to provide needed context, it is important to note the following:

  • Mary’s “Profile” details that she is a Registered Nurse, who works at the Orthopedics Department of Large Hospital System in Cincinnati, Ohio; and
  • Among her “Friends” is a co-worker, “Susan,” a licensed Physical Therapist, who works in the same Department/Hospital. Susan’s Profile also details her profession and place of work.

On June 26, 2011, Large Hospital System received a Letter dated June 23, 2011 from the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advising that it received an anonymous complaint on June 14, 2011 alleging that it was not in compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Standards and, more specifically, that Mary had impermissibly disclosed protected health information (PHI) of individuals who were patients of the Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics. Specifically, it is alleged that Mary posted PHI on her Facebook webpage on May 4, 2011 related to the patient status and medical condition of a “Famous Football Player.” (This is the hospital’s first notice of a possible HIPAA violation.)

Queries: Was this a HIPAA Violation? What are the consequences? What steps does Large Hospital System need to take? [22]

From June 26 – July 21, 2011, Large Hospital System conducts an investigation to determine if the allegations in the OCR Complaint Letter are true – and if true, whether a “Breach” has occurred – in order to respond to the Letter and to determine if a “Breach Notification” to Famous Football Player is needed.

The scenario Rorer poses, even though there is no ambiguity in the way the scenario plays out, is more complex than it first appears. The Orthopaedics nurse, in violation of HIPAA codes of conduct for medical professionals, revealed the medical status of a patient at the hospital she worked at. Not only that, revealing that that person, regardless of whether or not the individual in question is famous, is in itself a violation. Even though what took place can arguable be construed as being a HIPAA violation, there are mitigating circumstances need addressing.

Was the violation intentional? The scenario indicates the nurse posted the picture to her Facebook profile as an anther thought of attending her daughter’s “soccer game.” This in itself also indicates the violation of HIPAA guidelines was unintentional. Does it matter whether or not the violation was unintentional? HIPPA guidelines clearly stipulate that “if the unintentional use is by a workforce member (which includes employees, volunteers, etc.) who used the PHI in good faith and within the scope of his or her employment or professional relationship, the violation does not constitute a ‘breach.’ However, the unintentional use cannot result in further use or disclosure.”

Even with mitigating circumstances, the scenario played out with the hospital having determined the nurse had indeed committed a “breach” of HIPAA guidelines and was subsequently received “five-day suspension without pay.”[23] The nurse’s “friend” and hospital colleague received a “two-day suspension without pay for her “reply” post and for failing to report Mary’s potential HIPAA breach.”[24] There are many more examples of scholarly work which can be drawn upon for this research paper. The work presented for us by Rorer clearly establishes there is a clear and present danger to using social media, intentional or otherwise, to the fabric of patient privacy and the medical field as a whole.

Do the benefits of relying on social media based medical apps outweigh the dangers? All of the apps mentioned, with the exception of Facebook and Twitter, in this research assignment were designed for a particular section of society, the medical community, to use. None of the apps were designed for doctor-patient-interaction. This is not to say that there are not any medical apps on the market which can be used for doctor-patient-interaction. There are a number of apps which can be used to serve that function. It is those apps which doctors need use sparingly. There are significant ethical issues with divulging medical information via an app when there is no clear way of knowing the person receiving the information is the patient or a third party. There are ethical concerns with every aspect of medicine, not just the way doctors choose to interact with either each other or their patients. The debate is therefore ongoing.

 

Endnotes

[1] Landy, Joshua. ‘Figure 1 Home.’ Figure 1 – Photo Sharing for Healthcare. Figure 1 – Photo Sharing for Healthcare, n.d. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://figure1.com/.

[2] Landy, Joshua. ‘Dr. Joshua Landy.’ LinkedIN. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/joshua-landy/6a/417/298.

[3] Thomas, Shain Ellison. July 15, 2015. ‘Social Media and Healthcare.’ Eagle Strategies Class Blog. Eagle Strategies Class Blog. Last modified July 15, 2015. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://unteaglestrategies.com/2015/07/15/social-media-and-healthcare/.

[4] Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “common good”, accessed July 26, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/topic/common-good.

[5] Hamilton, Alexander; James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist Papers. (Penguin Classics). Kindle Electronic Edition, (2011): Pg. 185.

[6] Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Anesthesia”, accessed July 26, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/topic/anesthesia.

[7] Kapoor, Poonam Malhotra, ‘Nuances of Social Media in Medical Journalism.’ Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia 18, no. 3 (2015).

[8] Jeremy A. Greene et al., ‘Online Social Networking by Patients with Diabetes: A Qualitative Evaluation of Communication with Facebook,’ Journal of General Internal Medicine 26, no. 3 (February 22, 2011): 287–292.

[9] Daniel R. George, Liza S. Rovniak, and Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, ‘Dangers and Opportunities for Social Media in Medicine’, Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 56, no. 3 (2013): 453–462.

[10] Shore R, Halsey J, Shah K, et al. Report of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs: Professionalism in the Use of Social Media. J Clin Ethics. (2011); 22(2):165–172.

[11] Daniela J. Lamas, ‘Friend Request’, The New York Times Magazine, March 11, 2010. Accessed August 8, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/magazine/14lives-t.html?_r=0.

[12] King, David Lee, “Why Use Social Media?” Library Technology Reports 51, no. 1: 6-9,2, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1646465090?accountid=7113 (2015).

[13] Alcoholics Anonymous, ‘The A.A. Tradition’, in Alcoholics Anonymous the Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. (Calif.: The Recovery Zone, 2004), 561–566.

[14] Ibid.

[15] –, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Gift. (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1987), 15, 23, 33, 104.

[16] –, ‘The A.A. Tradition’, in Alcoholics Anonymous the Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. (Calif.: The Recovery Zone, 2004), XVI, 23, 64, 92, 139.

[17] Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

[18] HIPAA has numerous discrete parts. One of those parts is particularly pertinent to this subject matter: the Privacy

Standards.

[19] Pub. Law No. 104-191 at § 264. The Privacy Standards required the Department of Health and Human Services to the establish standards for the comprehensive protection for the privacy of health information and giving Individuals access to their health information.

[20] 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164 published at 65 Fed. Register 82462 (Dec. 20, 2002) (the “Privacy Rules”). Modifications to the Privacy Rules were published in August 2002. See 67 Fed. Register 53181 (August 14, 2002). The Compliance Date for most “Covered Entities” was April 14, 2003.

[21] Title XIII, Div. A and Title IV, Div. B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-05 Stat. 115 (Feb. 17, 2009), key provisions are codified at: 42 U.S.C. §1792 (definitions); 42 U.S.C. §17931-17932 (breach notification); 42 U.S.C. §17934 (business associates); and 42 U.S.C. §17936 (new marketing rules).

[22] Sara Simrall Rorer, ‘Social Media and HIPAA Privacy Concerns for Healthcare Providers’, Taft Law, accessed August 12, 2015, https://www.healthlawyers.org/Events/Programs/Materials/Documents/HHS13/Z_rorer.pdf.

[23] Sara Simrall Rorer, ‘Social Media and HIPAA Privacy Concerns for Healthcare Providers’, Taft Law, accessed August 12, 2015, https://www.healthlawyers.org/Events/Programs/Materials/Documents/HHS13/Z_rorer.pdf.

[24] Ibid.

 

Bibliography

Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous the Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. Abridged edition. Calif.: The Recovery Zone, 2004.

–. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Gift. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1987.

Brown, Clint. ‘Unite Blue.’ Twitter, n.d. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://twitter.com/uniteblue.

George, Daniel R., Liza S. Rovniak, and Jennifer L. Kraschnewski. ‘Dangers and Opportunities for Social Media in Medicine.’ Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 56, no. 3 (2013): 453–462.

Greene, Jeremy A., Niteesh K. Choudhry, Elaine Kilabuk, and William H. Shrank. ‘Online Social Networking by Patients with Diabetes: A Qualitative Evaluation of Communication with Facebook.’ Journal of General Internal Medicine 26, no. 3 (February 22, 2011): 287–292.

Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist Papers. United States: Irvington Publishers, 2011.

Kapoor, Poonam Malhotra. ‘Nuances of Social Media in Medical Journalism.’ Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia 18, no. 3 (2015).

Lamas, Daniela J. ‘Friend Request.’ The New York Times Magazine, March 11, 2010.

Landy, Joshua. ‘Dr. Joshua Landy.’ LinkedIN. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/joshua-landy/6a/417/298.

–. ‘Figure 1 Home.’ Figure 1 – Photo Sharing for Healthcare. Figure 1 – Photo Sharing for Healthcare, n.d. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://figure1.com/.

Medved, JP. ‘The Top 7 Medical Apps for Doctors – Capterra Blog.’ Accessed August 10, 2015. http://blog.capterra.com/top-7-medical-apps-for-doctors/.

Merchant, Raina M., Stacy Elmer, and Nicole Lurie. ‘Integrating Social Media into Emergency-Preparedness Efforts.’ New England Journal of Medicine 365, no. 4 (2011): 289–291.

Rorer, Sara Simrall. ‘Social Media and HIPAA Privacy Concerns for Healthcare Providers.’ Taft Law. Accessed August 12, 2015. https://www.healthlawyers.org/Events/Programs/Materials/Documents/HHS13/Z_rorer.pdf.

– .‘Sara Simrall Rorer – Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.’ Accessed August 12, 2015. http://www.taftlaw.com/attorneys/98-sara-simrall-rorer.

Terry, Mark. ‘Twittering Healthcare: Social Media and Medicine.’ Telemedicine and e-Health 15, no. 6 (2009): 507–510.

‘The Social MEDia Course – Social Media in Medicine: Introduction.’ Accessed August 8, 2015. http://thecourse.webicina.com/presentations/introduction/.

Thomas, Shain Ellison. ‘Social Media and Healthcare.’ Eagle Strategies Class Blog. Eagle Strategies Class Blog, July 15, 2015. Last modified July 15, 2015. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://unteaglestrategies.com/2015/07/15/social-media-and-healthcare/.

Wilson, Bill, and Bob Smith. ‘The A.A. Tradition.’ In Alcoholics Anonymous the Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, by Alcoholics Anonymous, 561–566. Abridged edition. Calif.: The Recovery Zone, 2004.

Social Media and Giving the People What They Want

Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), as seen in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.  Photo Credit: IMDb
Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), as seen in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
Photo Credit: IMDb

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan):

I may have some breaking news for you Elliot … You forgot the first rule of mass media Elliot. Give the people what they want!

(Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997)

Different media presentation mediums have different audiences with specific news media requirements. The content presented in a traditionalist print media, newspapers and magazines, will not necessarily satisfy the requirements an online audience is looking at.

The future of mass media coverage is here. Are you ready for it?

news media
Photo Credit: Microsoft ClipArt

Social media, when it pertains to providing people with news content they can appreciate, picks up where legacy media leaves off. Legacy news media is providing their online audience with the same stories it provides their more traditionalist audience.

Who exactly is that online audience?

Many people that count themselves as being members of this audience are, for want of a better term, twenty-first century upwardly mobile professionals.

This audience is expecting to see content they can access on-the-go. The difference between print and online mediums is the latter, whilst said content is covering the same stories as newspapers and magazines, is presented concise more visually stimulating format. The online content has significant benefits the print medium lacks. One such benefit is the ability to watch embedded video clips. This means social media apps.

With the content posted to their respective websites, all that is left to do is advertise the fact that that content is there. The best way to advertise online content is to use the various social media platforms twenty-first century upwardly mobile professionals use. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter, to name just a few, have been used to promote news coverage.

Regina Lawrence  Photo Credit: Twitter
Regina Lawrence
Photo Credit: Twitter

In 2012, Jim Henson, the Director of the Texas Politics Project, interviewed journalism professor Regina G. Lawrence about the impact social media has had on news coverage. The professor highlighted how Twitter was the go-to-social-media-platform for election coverage.

According to Lawrence, “if you are a campaign reporter, you pretty much have to be on Twitter and you have to be following it really really closely in order to do your job.”

The interview clearly shows how audience tastes is influencing the way professional journalists have to present their work. The future has finally arrived and it is extremely fast paced. If you are not prepared to go with the flow, you might want to consider a different line of work.

Social Media, Legacy Journalism and the 21ST Century

Social media, as discussed in other articles pertaining to the phenomenon, touches virtually every part of our lives, regardless of whether we like to admit it.

Photo Credit: Southeastern Missourian
Photo Credit: Southeastern Missourian

To a certain degree, media has always been “social.” An example of social media, as it pertains to legacy media, is the “Letter to the Editor.” Letter to the Editor, whilst somewhat arcane by today’s standards, can be construed as being a snail mail version of posting comments to a blog. Interestingly, what we now think of as being social media is, relatively speaking, a more recent development.

Mediums used for media participation, regardless of whether it is a letter to the editor or a comment posted directly to a blog posting within the time it takes to push a few buttons, are equally as social. The only difference between the legacy and virtual models of social media is the vehicle used to convey the message to the recipient.

Every Tom, Dick and Harriet that writers for a newspaper and or magazine has an online social media presence. Journalists having an online social media presence is just as true for journalists that operate on the British side of the pond as it is for those of us living in these United States.

Sam Sifton  Photo Credit: Twitter
Sifton
Photo Credit: Twitter
Richard Fletcher  Photo Credit: Twitter
Fletcher
Photo Credit: Twitter

Both Richard Fletcher, the Business editor of The Times, and Sam Sifton, the Food Editor, The New York Times, have highly active online social media presences. This presence does of course pertain to their respective professional positions as journalists. Whether or not these journalists maintain a personal online social media presence is another matter entirely.

The Times
Photo Credit: The Times and The Sunday Times

Major newspapers, inclusive of The Times, The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald, can still be accessed via the internet. Each of the mentioned newspapers has a website version of the hardcopy newspaper. Naturally, the website version targets a slightly different audience to that which the legacy version of the newspaper seeks to address. Articles written for an online conveyance, unlike that read in tangible newspapers, are concise.

Photo Credit: Shropshire Star
Photo Credit: Shropshire Star

Whilst the said newspapers can be accessed via the internet, those same newspapers can still be accessed through the more traditional means of picking them up, as hardcopies, from various retail outlets.

The traditional news agency, a British term for a small store where the primary focus is the selling of newspapers and magazines, is by no means a thing of the past. The traditional “High Street news agent” has been part of British life for many decades. It will continue in its current form for as long as there are newspapers and magazines to sell.

Social Media Law for Business

bookGilmore, Glen, Esq. Social Media Law for Business: A Practical Guide for Using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Blogs Without Stepping on Legal Land Mines: A Practical Guide for Using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Blogs Without Stepping on Legal Landmines. (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2014).

StarsMy Book Rating: 

About the Author

  • Glen Gilmore, Esq. teaches social media law and digital marketing at Rutgers University.
  • For two years in a row, Forbes ranked Gilmore in “The Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers.”[1] [2]
  • Gilmore has been described as a “Twitter Powerhouse.”[3]

Quick Description of the Book

  • Social Media Law for Business is a how-to-guild for aspiring business entrapaneurs wanting to avoid the legal pitfalls of using social media in an ever increasingly computer savvy world.

Main Points:

  • Gilmore outlines social media law and why it is important to business owners, regardless of the size of the business, operating in a modern world.[4]
  • Social media is therefore not merely a a personal platform for the distribution of pictures portraying cats doing the cutest things, social media platforms can also be utilized for or professional purposes, networking,[5] and marketing.
  • The author also outlines the importance of having an active social media presence,[6] by utilising platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Twitter.
  • The author also mentions various methods corporations employ to share content via social media platforms without having the headache of being sued for copyright infringement:

Best Aspect:

  • Each topic Gilmore touches upon is presented so that a layman can fully understand the substance of the material.
  • Gilmore outlines how organizations can create their own social media policy.[11]
  • Gilmore addresses each topic he covers with fluid logical reasoning for why a business needs a legally binding social media policy.[12]
  • Ignorance of the law is not a justification for breaking the law.[13]
  • In a clear uncomplicated language, Gilmore discusses minimizing the legal risks of using social media and maximizing usage for marketing successful.[14]

Worst Aspect:

  • Social media law is extensively addressed from an American perspective.
  • International social media laws are bearly mentioned.
    • Limited information pertaining to international social media laws inaccurately suggests business owners need not pay attention to them.
  • Foreign social media laws receive even less attention.[15] [16]
    • As with international social media laws, the same is true of foreign social media laws.

Main Lesson:

  • Gilmore addresses the us of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to mention just a few.
  • One of the main lessons Gilmore points to in his writing is how aspring business owners can incorporate social media platforms to standard operating procedures.[17]
  • If legal issues do arise, and they invariably do, Gilmore advise business owners to seek advice from appropriate sources.[18]

Who should read this book? Why?

  • The audience Gilmore has targeted is American small business owners with aspirations of growing beyond the limitations of their current circumstances.
    • Gilmore spends significant time focusing on American laws pertaining to trademarks, copyright, and fair use.
  • Readers from outside the United States will garner information pertaining to how the American legal system works with aspects of social media infractions.
  • The text Gilmore has penned, a guide to aspiring business owners, is a “how to style text” for incorporating social media based technology into current standard operating procedures.

Endnoates

[1] Shaughnessy, Haydn. ‘Who Are The Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers?’ Forbes. Forbes, January 25, 2012. Accessed July 25, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2012/01/25/who-are-the-top-50-social-media-power-influencers/.

[2] –  . ‘Who Are The Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013?’ Forbes. Forbes, April 17, 2013. Accessed July 25, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2013/04/17/who-are-the-top-50-social-media-power-influencers-2013/.

[3] ‘The Incredible Rise of a Twitter Visionary.’ Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, May 25, 2011. Accessed July 25, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2morrowknight/the-incredible-rise-of-a_b_570509.html.

[4] Gilmore, Glen. (McGraw Hill Professional, 2014). Pg. 35

[5] Ibid. Pg. 35

[6] Ibid. Pgs. 45-6

[7] Ibid. Pgs. 17-8, 50-1, 54-5, 63, 155

[8] Ibid. Pg. 56, 59, 62-4

[9] Ibid. Pgs. 51-4

[10] Ibid. Pgs. 49-64

[11] Ibid. Pgs. 9, 17-8, 20-1, 30-1, 35-6

[12] Ibid. Pgs. 17-8

[13] Kirtley, Jane. ‘Media Law Handbook Series.’ US Embassy. Accessed July 26, 2015. http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/media/pdf/books/media-law-handbook.pdf.

[14] Gilmore, Glen. (McGraw Hill Professional, 2014). Pgs. 68, 75-6, 86

[15] ‘Social Media and International Law – Articles – Olswang LLP.’ Last modified July 28, 2014. Accessed July 26, 2015. http://www.olswang.com/articles/2014/07/social-media-and-international-law/.

[16] Kersten, Mark. ‘Diverging Trajectories: Social Media and #InternationalLaw.’ Justice in Conflict. Justice in Conflict, April 19, 2012. Last modified April 19, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2015. http://justiceinconflict.org/2012/04/19/diverging-trajectories-social-media-and-internationallaw/.

[17] Gilmore, Glen. (McGraw Hill Professional, 2014). Pgs 45-6

[18] Ibid. Pgs. 8-9, 14

Bibliography

‘Behind The Trenton Postmark: A Town’s Take-Charge Attitude.’ TIME.com. TIME.com, November 5, 2001. Last modified November 5, 2001. Accessed July 25, 2015. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1001139,00.html.

‘Glen Gilmore.’ New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis. New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis, March 28, 2007. Last modified March 28, 2007. Accessed July 25, 2015. http://politickernj.com/2007/03/glen-gilmore/.

‘International Laws Governing Social Media.’ Accessed July 26, 2015. http://www.youblawg.com/social-media/international-laws-governing-social-media.

‘Social Media and International Law – Articles – Olswang LLP.’ Last modified July 28, 2014. Accessed July 26, 2015. http://www.olswang.com/articles/2014/07/social-media-and-international-law/.

‘The Incredible Rise of a Twitter Visionary.’ Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, May 25, 2011. Accessed July 25, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2morrowknight/the-incredible-rise-of-a_b_570509.html.

‘U.S. Mayor Article | Participating Mayors in the 2006 Sundance Summit (November 20, 2006).’ Accessed July 25, 2015. http://usmayors.org/usmayornewspaper/documents/11_20_06/pg4_sundance_mayors.asp

Baker, Derrick K. ‘Fox News: Unfair & Unbalanced.’ Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, May 25, 2011. Accessed July 26, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/derrick-k-baker/fox-news-unfair-unbalance_b_342141.html.

Gilmore, Glen. ‘Feeds.’ Accessed July 25, 2015. http://www.quora.com/Glen-Gilmore.

–  ‘Glen Gilmore (@glengilmore) • Instagram Photos and Videos.’ Accessed July 25, 2015. https://instagram.com/glengilmore/. –

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Social Media, #TwoGents, and Let Your Freak Flag Fly

William Shakespeare’s stage plays have been performed throughout the centuries ad infinitum by casts too numerous to list. Not all of the casts have performed The Bard’s creations live on stage. The plays have been adapted to radio, television and film. The Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre director Andrew Cassel has given Shakespeare’s The Two Gentleman of Verona a social media twist.

The Two Gentleman of Verona Cast Photo Credit: News Miner Photographer: Eric Engman
The Two Gentleman of Verona Cast
Photo Credit: News Miner
Photographer: Eric Engman
Gary Black Photo Credit: Twitter
Gary Black
Photo Credit: Twitter

In an article published Wednesday, 8 July 2015, Gary Black, a staff writer with News Miner, writes, “If Shakespeare had a Twitter account, he would follow Andrew Cassel. Shakespeare also would, no doubt, tag and share his work as #TwoGents … It’s a bit of modern technology meets an Elizabethan era when the play opens tonight at Jack Townshend Point on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, and it’s all over social media.”

Using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in the way Cassel has done with #TwoGents, the hashtag the director created for his production, is merely one example of how thespians are embracing the advertising power of social media utilised as a performing arts medium.

Andrew Cassel  Photo Credit: Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre
Andrew Cassel
Photo Credit: Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre

The director used social media to not only promote #TwoGents, but use it as an opportunity to offer potential audience members a deeper insight into the various components that made the stage play buzz. For this purpose, Cassel used the hashtag #sharetheshow.

Scott McCrea Photo Credit: Twitter
Scott McCrea
Photo Credit: Twitter

In the reporting of a somewhat comedic happenstance, Scott McCrea, a staff writer for News Miner, writes, “At one point during one of Valentine’s monologues in the second act, a squirrel darted on to the edge of the stage, looked around just a bit, then scampered away. Minutes later a loud chattering came from the trees. I’d like to think it was that same squirrel, alerting his squirrel friends to come check the show out; if that is the case, then I’ll follow the squirrel’s lead, because that’s the best advice I can offer as well.”

Whilst love maketh men and women do some seriously peculiar things in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentleman of Verona, the prize is the name of the game for contestants competing in the “Let Your Freak Flag Fly Art Show.”

A Little Mountain Community Theatre Production Photo Credit: Patch
A Little Mountain Community Theatre Production
Photo Credit: Patch

At this point, you might be wondering how it is social media platforms can be utilised to assist in the presentation of either the art show itself or the prizes given to winning contestants. The answer is revealed when social media is used to determine how audience members attending a performance of “Shrek: The Musical” are asked to vote for People’s Choice Award in the theatre’s art show.

Lauren Taut Photo Credit: Patch
Lauren Taut
Photo Credit: Patch

In an article published Saturday, 27 June 2015, Lauren Taut, a staff writer with Patch, writes, “Local artists of all ages and skill levels have embraced their uniqueness as part of the “Let Your Freak Flag Fly Art Show” in association with Little Mountain Community Theatre’s main stage production of Shrek: The Musical. Now it’s up to you to determine the People’s Choice Award via social media voting!”

This clearly indicates social media platforms can be used for more than just circulating photographs of cats doing the cutest things.

Social Media and the Huckabee Campaign

The era where the main form of communicating intent to run for public office was established with a long line of dots and dashes is truly history in a big way. The age of social media, whilst not everyone appreciates how complex the medium is, is firmly embedded itself in the cultural psyche of an inquisitive generation.

With much at stake with the 2016 United States Presidential Election quickly approaching, presidential hopefuls are looking to social media platforms to give their image a twenty-first century flare, subsequently impressing the more technologically savvy members of the electorate.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee  Photo Credit: Twitter
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Photo Credit: Twitter

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, as of Tuesday, 21 July 2015, became the latest GOP presidential hopeful to establish a Vine account. Whilst it was more likely a campaign staffer setup the account in the former governor’s name, the account is there for all to view.

As of 11:17 (CST) on the same morning the account was established, Huckabee had already attained a modest 148 followers.

MV5BMjEyMzgwNTUzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTMxMzM3Ng@@._V1_SY317_CR15,0,214,317_AL_
Photo Credit: IMDb

The use of an excerpt from the 1994 Roger Allers / Rob Minkoff directed animated adventure drama The Lion King in the first vine posted to the account, contextually speaking, will probably not please the powers that be at Disney. It clearly will not take the Huckabee Campaign long to ruffle a few feathers.

Even without today’s addition to the Huckabee Campaign, with accounts established on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, Pinterest, Twitter, and three YouTube accounts [ 1, 2, and 3], Huckabee’s social media presence is somewhat modest, to say the least.

Huckabee needs to step up a tad bit more if he thinks he is going to get the computer savvy members of the electorate to vote for him.