The internet…friend or foe – LCA Conference 2010

25 Sep

This session entitled “Is the internet your friend or not” was held By Sarah Kovich.  The session was very informative and discussed how important it is to have a professional online presence today.  In many ways, this session was the inspiration for creating this webpage/blog and developing a facebook resume.

We live in Generation Google, in which credentials are validated by internet presence and searchability.  It has it’s drawbacks….btw Wikipedia (for those of you who don’t know) is NOT a valid reference!!! ***thwaps self in forehead!***  That’s the former English major in me coming out.  On sites like wikipedia, facebook, myspace, blogs, etc…anyone can post anything and pretend to be anybody!

Websites/social networking is essential, however, for self-promotion and for sharing information.  Blogs like this one attempt to compile information from elsewhere.  Future clients, in counseling, will google their counselor to “see what comes up” and how well known he/she is.  Already, seminars/conferences are being held online.  Some clients will even search for a local counselor online and/or read reviews on him/her.

Sites like Xplana are revolutionizing the way we do studying and research.  Xplana, is a social networking site for group studying and allows users to access lists of books/videos/notes/audio/websites/etc related to a current topic or class.  It also allows users to make their own digital note cards and study aides, join study groups, or make friends with similar interests.

Additionally, as we digitize ourselves more and more…internet counseling is becoming bigger and bigger.  The plus?  It reaches people that would not otherwise seek out traditional counseling.  The negative?  How do you know they are who they say they are (and not say a “minor” who is unable to give legal consent)?  How do you guarantee confidentiality?  and How do you maintain your own ethical/legal duty to protect/inform when you cannot be sure of the client’s identity?

Some of these questions will likely be resolved over the next few years.  Unfortunately, they will likely be resolved in court rooms.  Adding to the confusion is the fact that the internet crosses state lines.  What if your client is in Alabama and your counselor in Kentucky?  What if one state allows internet counseling and another is against it?  Which law trumps the other in a courtroom????

The internet can be scary in its’ ambiguity and the ability of individuals to craft identities that may or may not be true.  Yet, it is also a place to push boundaries, test ideas, and eliminate barriers between diverse peoples.  Is it your friend???? You decide 🙂

(Thank you again to Sarah Kovich for giving a great talk and inspiring this webpage.)

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