Identifiable Problems in Social Media: Concerning Legal Awareness Within Academic Libraries

Identifiable Problems in Social Media: Concerning Legal Awareness Within Academic Libraries

Amy D. Dye-Reeves (Murray State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8097-3.ch008
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The chapter serves as a primer for academic librarians on helping patrons with disabilities receive, protect, and understand disseminated content on a multitude of popular social media networking platforms. The content of the chapter provides introductory material on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The first part of the chapter discusses the inclusion of best practices and web accessibility applications for structuring written incorporation to help all patrons understand the expressed material within social media networking pages. The second part of the chapter discusses the importance of respecting patron privacy within FERPA guidelines. This section discusses social networking pages and best practices for helping safeguard the patron's identity concerning inadvertent HIPAA violations.
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This chapter serves as an introductory primer that provides academic librarians with detailed context on how to better assist and inform disabled patrons through social media platforms. The following paragraphs educate informational professionals concerning issues within Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). As a short disclaimer, this chapter serves only as a primer that simply provides information literacy to help aid patrons with disabilities. This chapter does not serve as a directive in terms of legality issues, in which specific issues, should always be directed to the assigned university personnel within that specific institution.

The first part of the chapter discusses the careful consideration of social media platforms for patrons with disabilities (ADA compliance) and provides a list of applications that enhances and enriches content comprehension. The second part of the chapter discusses FERPA (Family Educational Right and Privacy Act) and provides a list of associated practices on helping patrons understand the importance non-disclosure information, such as HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) based information. The chapter ends with a recommendation section that provides a short list of professional development opportunities.

According to Merriam-Webster (2018), social media is defined as the “form of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communications to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)” (Webster, 2018). In today’s fast pace environment, social media is being used outside of personal correspondence. The social networking pages provide opportunities that are often being explored by corporations, pre and post-secondary education, and beyond.

Nancy Flynn (2012), The Social Media Handbook explains that employers must “manage social media use effectively in order to protect (their) organization’s assets, reputation, and future” (Flynn, 2). However, the definition of social media should be treated as a living organism whose definition can change rapidly due to the nature of technological advancements.

The 2018 current landscape of popular social media networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Each page provides a unique venue for both formal and informal conversations. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center (2018) revealed that a majority of adults (age 24 and older) within the United States chose Facebook and YouTube as the preferred social media platform. Whereas the younger Americans preferred a wide variety of social networking pages and used them on a frequent basis. The collected data from the Pew Research Center indicated that “some 78% of 18-24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times a day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.” (Pew Research Center, 2018). Interesting enough, Facebook is the most widely used social media platform where over 68 percent of adults within the United States prefer this networking page. (Pew Research Center, 2018). Another top performing networking site included YouTube (a popluar video sharing platform system) that uses social elements such as vlogs. Vlogs range in the promotion of consumer-based products to personal viewpoints on a multiple of subject matters. The Pew Research Center showed that over three-quarters of adults in America used this platform. Additionally, over, ninety-four percent of 18 to 24 years old utilized this particular product. (Pew Research Center,2018). This informational data allows academic librarians to consider what social networking pages might work best for both promotional and instructional service purposes.

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