Should Academics and Researchers in the Trauma Field Post on Social Media?

The decision for academics, researchers, doctors, and psychologists to post on social media is personal and nuanced.

Academics and researchers should approach social media with responsible engagement, accuracy and recognizing its potential impacts for promoting conversation and knowledge dissemination. It is important to approach the topic of victims and trauma with sensitivity, respect, and a trauma-informed lens. 

Academics & Researchers on Social Media

The decision for academics, researchers, doctors, and psychologists to post on social media is personal and nuanced. Moreover, it depends on various personal and professional factors. Here are some considerations:

  1. Knowledge Dissemination: Social media provides a platform for experts to share their knowledge, research findings, and evidence-based information with a wider audience. Posting on social media can help bridge the gap between academia and the general public. Therefore, this makes scientific insights more accessible and promoting education and awareness on academic topics and research.
  2. Destigmatization and Awareness: Likewise, posting on social media allows professionals to contribute to the de-stigmatization and biases associated with the field that may be outdated. This promotes open conversations and can help reduce stigma.
  3. Building Professional Networks & Interdisciplinary Recommendations: Social media platforms enable academics to connect with associations, researchers, and experts in their field. Subsequently, this works by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, knowledge exchange, and professional opportunities ensuring a comprehensive and integrated approach. It can facilitate networking and the exchange of ideas beyond physical or institutional boundaries.
  4. Ethical Considerations: Professionals must be mindful of the ethical guidelines and boundaries of their respective fields when posting on social media. Confidentiality, privacy, and maintaining professional boundaries are crucial considerations to avoid potential harm to individuals or breaches of professional ethics. Prioritize confidentiality and obtain their informed consent before sharing stories or images.
  5. Time and Resource Management: Maintaining an active social media presence requires time, effort, and resources. Consequently, professionals need to carefully manage their online activities to ensure they do not compromise the quality of their work, patient care, or personal well-being.
  6. Reach and Engagement: Academics should also be aware of limitations and potential pitfalls if perceived out of context as individuals share your work. Cite sources as often as you can.
  7. Current Challenges and Needs: Outline the immediate challenges and needs of your audience.  This may include safety concerns, assistance, mental health support etc. 

Risks and Challenges

However, there are also potential risks and challenges associated with posting on social media:

  1. Misinformation and Misinterpretation: Social media platforms can be a breeding ground for misinformation, misinterpretation, and oversimplification. Professionals must exercise caution and ensure that the information they share is accurate, evidence-based, and cites when appropriate (Atlay, et al., 2023).
  2. Trolling and Online Abuse: It is essential to be prepared for potential negative interactions and develop strategies to address and manage such situations effectively. Trolling is similar to harassment. It is aggressive intimidation tactics. Trolling is considered anti-social behavior (Cracker, et al., 2016). As a result, you may find you need additional support as this can be challenging to deal with.

Ultimately, the decision to post on social media should be driven by thoughtful consideration of the potential benefits, risks and ethics. Additionally, individual or research group goals, resources available and how it is approached and managed should also be considered. Posting valuable content can connect professionals with diverse audiences, including those who may not have access to traditional sources of information or face barriers in seeking professional help.

Written By:
Ashley McLean
MSc. Psychology of Coercive Control


Altay, S., Berriche, M., Heuer, H., Farkas, J., & Rathje, S. (2023). A survey of expert views on misinformation: Definitions, determinants, solutions, and future of the field. Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, 4(4), 1–34.

Craker, N., & March, E. (2016). The dark side of Facebook®: The Dark Tetrad, negative social potency, and trolling behaviours. Personality and Individual Differences, 102, 79–84.

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