, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 301–307 | Cite as

Information Policy and Social Media: Accept or Decline

  • Dian WalsterEmail author
Original Paper


In this article I examine how intersections between information policy and social media affect professional ethics and instructional decision making as considered through the lens of professional development and continuing education. The discussion uses techniques from autoethnography such as personal narrative, figurative language and scenarios. Data are extracted from my field notes, observations and writings. My experiences as an instructor of information policy and as an academic with a Ph.D. in Educational Communication and Technology who teaches online courses to graduate professional learners are included. My conclusions are: (1) The formal information policies of social media platforms create an environment requiring instructors to apply professional ethics considerations when deciding how students will use social media platforms. (2) The informal information policies which students hold affect their responses to the information policies of social media platforms used for educational purposes. (3) Instructors can examine the intersections of information policies, professional ethics and student preferences to aid their instructional decision making regarding the integration of social media platforms into professional development and continuing education.


Information policy Information privacy Information security Information storage Social media 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


  1. Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). (n.d.). Code of Professional Ethics. Retrieved May 30, 2016 from
  2. Benson, V., & Morgan, S. (2016). Social university challenge: Constructing pragmatic graduate competencies for social networking. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 465–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benson, V., Saridakis, G., & Tennakoon, H. (2015). Information disclosure of social media users: Does control over personal information, user awareness and security notices matter? Information Technology and People, 28(3), 426–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2008). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 210–230.Google Scholar
  5. Conger, S., Pratt, J. H., & Loch, K. D. (2013). Personal information privacy and emerging technologies. Information Systems Journal, 23(5), 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cooke, S. (2015). Social teaching: Student perspectives on the inclusion of social media in higher education. Education and Information Technology. doi: 10.1007/s10639-015-9444-y.Google Scholar
  7. Couldry, N., & van Dijck, J. (2015). Researching social media as if the social mattered. Social Media and Society, 1–7. doi: 10.1177/2056305115604174.
  8. DeLeon, L., & Feenan, K. (2016). The journey into Ba: A phenomenology of computer-mediated communication. EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, 2016(1), 275–280.Google Scholar
  9. Gingrich-Philbrook, C. (2016). Autoethnography in an almond grove. International Review of Qualitative Research, 9(1), 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Google. (2016). What data does Google collect? Retrieved May 29, 2016 from
  11. Kitching, F., Winbolt, M., MacPhail, A., & Ibrahim, J.E. (2015). Web-based social media for professional medical education: Perspectives of senior stakeholders in the nursing home sector. Nurse Education Today, 35, 1192–1198. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2015.05.013.
  12. Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2016). Facebook and the others. Potentials and obstacles of social media for teaching in higher education. Computers and Education, 95, 216–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Record, M. (2015). Implications of graphic organizers in an age of social media. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 144, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2013). Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions Retrieved September 1, 2016 from Scholar
  15. Tess, P. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual)—A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, A60–A68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Yeaman, A. R. J. (2006). Scenarios and principles [originally titled: Teaching professional ethics with scenarios]. TechTrends, 50(2), 10–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Yeaman, A. R. J. (2013). Life is not a paragraph. TechTrends, 57(1), 16–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Library and Information ScienceDetroitUSA

Personalised recommendations