Social media is taking over these days, we have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, and so much more. It’s revolutionizing the way we all communicate with each other and provides new ways for us to share ideas and approach learning in general and particularly in the interpreting field. The opportunities to foster learning and connection among the interpreting community and the Deaf community are endless as we all communicate through forums, blogs, and online discussion groups. There are also many Interpreter Education Programs that are shifting to distance education to educate the next generation of interpreters. Generation X, Millennials, and the most current X Generation grew up using technology and feel most comfortable interacting with different apps and technological resources. It certainly is something that is becoming a mainstay in our lives.
As many benefits that this provides us we also have to be aware of the social information processing (SIP) theory, which explains how we interact online without nonverbal cues. Online interactions are a completely different than face-to-face communications because we don’t have the benefit of social context cues. We also become more self-centered and less inhibited. Because of this we need to approach social media much like how our parents taught us how to approach other people. Tweaking the old adage to, ‘Think before you post.” is critical to engaging online. Every time you post your information remains indefinitely on the Internet and creates a ‘snapshot’ that others may base an opinion of you from. Not to mention stakeholders, interpreting agencies, colleagues, possible employers are able to look up your online information at any time to make a character judgment. Your information is not private; anything that you post online is public information.
We also have to always keep the CPC in mind as we are posting and remember that all rules for confidentiality and respect for consumers and colleagues apply to all online interactions. There are options to separate pages to create one for your business and personal life. Some rules of thumb is to turn of your locator device from your phone, don’t post any assignment related comments or information, never share assignment pictures without consent, don’t post information or use social media while you are on an interpreting assignment.
Smart questions to ask yourself before using social media:
1) Have I removed identifying assignment information from my post?
2) Are my privacy settings on?
3) Have I considered the professional and ethical impact of this post?
4) Am I following the same ethical rules I would in the “real world”?
Social information processing theory. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://web-impact.blog.wku.edu/communication/interpersonal/social-information-processing-theory/