Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

Recommendations From the Council of Residency Directors Social Media Task Force

Malford T. Pillow, MD, Med; Laura Hopson, MD; Michael Bond, MD; Daniel Cabrera, MD; Leigh Patterson, MD; David Pearson, MD; Harsh Sule, MD, MPP; Felix Ankel, MD; Madonna Fernández-Frackelton, MD; Ronald V. Hall, MD; Jason A. Kegg, MD; Donald Norris; Katrin Takenaka


Western J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):26-30. 

In This Article

Content Management

When a program initiates a sponsored social media site, it should designate a content manager (moderator) who is a permanent employee (i.e. not a trainee) who will assume responsibility for the maintenance and monitoring of posted content. That content manager needs to be proficient in the operation of the chosen platform as it pertains to administrative issues regarding posting, access, and privacy. That person also needs to ensure routine updating and monitoring of the site. In addition, plans for transfer of content management should be made in advance to facilitate a smooth transition. Areas of responsibility for the content manager include:

  1. Ensuring that content is current, accurate, and in accordance with the communications plan. (See below)

  2. Ensuring communications that are acceptable in the medical workplace. This includes respecting copyrights, intellectual property and protected health information (PHI), as well as similar sensitive or private information.

  3. Ensuring consent of all involved parties for the use of recordings, photos, images, video, text, slideshow presentations, artwork and advertisements is obtained and whether those rights are purchased or obtained without compensation. Included in this should be prospective consent for use of any photographs or images of residents or other personnel in the residency program.

Site management is an evolving realm with unforeseen risks. Content managers may be responsible or liable per individual institutional requirements, for all content posted on the sites.[36–37] It is recommended that content managers frequently communicate with the institution regarding site content and any questions be vetted by the institution before posting. It is important to note that once content is placed on an institutionally sponsored site, it is then owned by the institution and not the posting individual or the content manager.[36]