The Impact of Social Media on Business and Ethical Practices in Dietetics

Published:October 18, 2013DOI:
      The term “social media” refers to web-based or mobile technologies that are used for collaborative information sharing. These technologies provide dietetics practitioners with a number of ways to communicate with and engage peers and the public with the goal of improving health outcomes. This article explores the benefits and risks of social media for the practice of dietetics and outlines professional and personal responsibilities for dietetics practitioners.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Kaplan A.M.
        • Haenlein M.
        Users of the world unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media.
        Bus Horizons. 2010; 53: 59-68
      2. Traffikd List of Social Media and Social Networking Sites. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      3. It's a Social World: Social Networking Leads as Top Online Activity Globally, Accounting for 1 in Every 5 Online Minutes. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      4. Rainie L, Fox S. Just-in-time information through mobile connections. Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.∼/media/Files/Reports/2012/PIP_Just_In_Time_Info.pdf. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      5. PatientsLikeMe. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      6. CureTogether. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Weitzman E.R.
        • Adida B.
        • Kelemen S.
        • Mandl K.D.
        Sharing data for public health research by members of an international online diabetes social network.
        PLoS ONE. 2011; 6: e19256
      7. Dimick C. Policies for social media. Published January 6, 2010. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Casper S.
        • Proctor P.
        • Rishel W.
        Healthcare organization must address the risks of social media privacy breaches.
        Stamford, CT: Gartner, Inc, February 7, 2012: 1-7
        • Jain S.H.
        Practicing medicine in the age of Facebook.
        N Engl J Med. 2009; 361(7): 649-651
        • Chretien K.C.
        • Azar J.
        • Kind T.
        Physicians on Twitter.
        J Am Med Assoc. 2011; 305: 566-568
      8. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      9. Harlow D. Health care social media—How to engage online without getting into trouble (part I). Healthblawg, Published January 3, 2012. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      10. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Guide to the Privacy and Security of Health Information. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      11. Halamka J. Life as a healthcare CIO blog. The Privacy & Security Mobile Device Project. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      12. Department of Health and Human Services. mHealth Initiative. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Aase S.
        Toward e-professionalism: Thinking through the implications of navigating the digital world.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2010; 110: 1442-1449
        • Greyson S.R.
        • Kind T.
        • Chretien K.
        Online professionalism and the mirror of social media.
        J Gen Intern Med. 2010; 25: 1227-1229
        • Hawn C.
        Take two aspirin and tweet me in the morning: How Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are reshaping health care.
        Health Affairs. 2009; 28: 361-368
      13. Mayo Clinic. Guidelines for Mayo Clinic Employees Using Social Media. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      14. HIMSS Social Media Work Group White Paper. Healthcare “Friending” Social Media: What Is It, How Is It Used, and What Should I Do? Published February 10, 2012. Accessed June 9, 2013.

      15. American Dietetic Association/Commission on Dietetic Registration Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics and Process for Consideration of Ethics Issues.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2009; 109: 1461-1467
      16. Federal Trade Commission Press Release. Facebook settles FTC charges that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises. Published November 29, 2011. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      17. Vinjamuri D. Ethics and the five deadly sins of social media. Published November 3, 2011. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      18. American Medical Association. Professionalism in the use of social media. Published August 1, 2010. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      19. Federal Trade Commission. FTC publishes final guides governing endorsements, testimonials. Published October 5, 2009. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      20. Schaffer N. Twitter Goes to Court: The Courtney Love Twitter defamation case. Published January 7, 2011. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      21. Berkowitz M. Social media recruiting: Understanding the legal guidelines. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      22. Kursmark L. Keep the interview legal. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      23. Ex-employee sued over keeping Twitter account. USA February 13, 2012. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Calvani A.
        • Cartelli A.
        • Fini A.
        • Ranieri M.
        Models and instruments for assessing digital competence at school.
        Applications. 2008; 4 (Accessed June 7, 2013): 183-193
      24. Ala-Mutka K, Punie, Y, Redecker, C. Digital competence for lifelong learning. 2008. European Commission Joint Research Centre—Institute for Prospective Technological Studies. Accessed June 7, 2013.

      25. Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research. Order interrupted by text: Multitasking mishap. December 2011. Published December 2011. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Fox M.
        Legal risks of social media: What dietetics practitioners need to know.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012; 112: 1718-1723
      26. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Social Media Policy. Published March 2013. Accessed June 7, 2013.

        • Helm J.
        Ethical and legal issues related to blogging and social media.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013; 113: 688-690