Monday, 8 October 2012

Ethical responsibilities of leaders of tweetchats?

That Way
That way by justinbaeder
Over a year a go, Natalie Lafferty and I hosted the first #meded chat on Twitter. Ours was between 9-10pm UK time, and 5 hours later a similar chat was held for participants in the US.

We had some really great and very wide-ranging discussions. In the UK we had a lot of participation from students and doctors in training. This made for particularly rich and informative debates, for example on portfolios and competency. Over the summer we wound the chats down and didn't get them started again, although the US chat has kept running. But thanks to some calls on Twitter we have got some momentum building again and it looks as if our first session will be announced soon.

In advance of this I wanted to clarify what someone who participates in these chats could expect. I am not so interested in etiquette. We didn't really have any problems before, and participants seemed to be relatively sophisticated users of Twitter, so saying 'be nice' would seem to be a bit superfluous, and a little prissy.

But there are some other issues that I think we should address. The first is the issue of archiving. Anyone can archive anything on Twitter, but I think we should be clear with users that we ourselves will be archiving tweets and the implications of that. Up to now we had been using Symplur's archiving tool but we need to check whether individual tweets can be removed if they breached the confidentiality of patients or others. Again this did not arise before, but it is a serious enough governance issue that I think we should draw attention to it.

Next is the issue of research. As we are forming a community with the participants we would not consider researching the community without making participants aware. However, others outside our community might make us an object of research without making us aware. We can not do anything to stop that but we can make participants aware at least.

So given all that, here is a first draft. It is a fully editable document so please leave a comment here or directly on the document. What else do you think we need to add?

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