Social Media in Social Work Practice: Applying Ethics and Standards in the Real World (3 CEUs)

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Cost and Registration

$20 for UBSSW alumni
$25 for all others


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Registration: 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Presentation: 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm 


403 Hayes Hall, South Campus, Buffalo

Closest parking lots include Abbott, Townsend and Diefendorf Lots. Please note that while parking is open after 3pm on campus, it is still at a premium, so give yourself enough time to park and find the building.


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics have been updated for 2018, and include several new standards for the use of technology in social work practice. They include how social workers should inform clients about technology use, expected technology skills of social workers, assessment of clients’ abilities to benefit from technology-mediated practice, including email, and considerations for social workers’ personal use of technology such as social media. In 2017, NASW, the Association of Social Work Boards, Council of Social Work Education, and the Clinical Social Work Association jointly released Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice. These Standards further address and illustrate uses of technology in practice, including searching online for clients, issues in provision of electronic and online services, and practices in delivering online social work education.

This workshop will present key components of the new standards with a focus on real-world practical impacts of social media on social work practice. We will address issues like what to do when you see client information online, get a friend request, or get questions about your own online identity. We’ll talk about what you might be missing if you don’t “do” social media, and how to dip in a toe. Using the new ethics and standards as our guide, we will explore common case scenarios related to how social media use can benefit social work practitioners, and also the risks and ethical landmines that come with exploring this new frontier. 


  1. Review new components of the NASW Code of Ethics and the Standards for Technology related to practicing in environments where social media is used by clients, practitioners, or other stakeholders;
  2. Understand generational differences in social media use and views of privacy;
  3. Discuss issues of intersectionality and social media use in the lives of clients, with consideration of how social media may benefit clients or contribute to risk;
  4. Explore various social media platforms, and their strengths and weaknesses as productive tools for social workers;
  5. Understand how social workers are presently using social media for client advocacy, service delivery, and networking;
  6. Identify risks related to social workers’ social media use through exploration of news stories and case studies; and
  7. Develop goals related to our own online presence and identities.

CEUs for New York State LMSWs & LCSWs

NY LMSW & LCSW contact hours are being provided through the University at Buffalo School of Social Work’s Office of Continuing Education. This Office is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0001. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance. 3 live contact hours have been approved.

Questions about CEU's?

Please contact the Office of Continuing Education

Phone: 716-829-5847



Melanie Sage, PhD

Melanie Sage joined the University of Buffalo in 2017. Her research and scholarship areas include the use of technology in social work education and practice, the intersections of technology use and child welfare practice, family-centered child welfare practice, and child welfare practice with indigenous families. In the area of technology, Sage has provided continuing education training for over 1,000 social work practitioners in the ethical use of technology and social media. She is the co-chair of the technology track committee for CSWE's APM; a board member for the national non-profit husITa, a group dedicated to promoting the ethical and effective use of technology in human services; serves as a co-lead for the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge of Harnessing Technology for Social Good; and is a co-moderator of a 1,400 member electronic group called Social Work and Technology. She has presented nationally and internationally on the effective use of technology in social work education, and spent three years as a BSSW Program Director, launching a successful distance-delivered synchronous BSW program for rural and tribal students.

Sage has taught primarily in the areas of individual and family interventions, and enjoys teaching applied use of evidence-based practice. As an instructor, she also enjoys working with students on effective ways to use technology to connect and disseminate information, such as through use of infographics, video creation, and other tech tools for practice from micro to macro levels. Her practice experience includes service as a child welfare practitioner in three states, as well as a child welfare trainer. She has also worked in psychiatric social work, Veteran’s Administration homeless veterans programming, as a forensic interviewer, in clinical private practice, and as a clinical licensure supervisor. She has received awards for engaged scholarship and community service, and currently serves on CSWE's Council on Conferences and Professional Development.

Melanie Sage

ADA Accommodations

If you require any support for your ADA needs in the United States, please contact us by email at least 3 weeks prior to the event by email at  or by phone at 716-645-1259.

Customer Service

We are happy to respond to any concerns or questions you may have. Please contact Sarah Watson by email at or by phone at 716-645-1259.