The social media maven
Even in the early 1990s, San Francisco-based psychologist Keely Kolmes,
PsyD, was tinkering with social media when it was merely AOL chat rooms
and Usenet. When she launched her clinical practice in 2008, Kolmes assumed
she would have to ditch her social media passion to maintain her professional
identity. But a friend convinced her that she could do both.
“He told me, ‘You’re not most people — you’re mindful of the things you
say,’ and that drove me into creating my professional Twitter account,” she says.
Kolmes already had a blog on social media ethics and began sharing
her posts and other mental health news via Twitter. Then she developed
and released a social media policy to guide her private practice that she
disseminated on Twitter. It quickly earned the attention of mental health
professionals worldwide who were seeking guidance on the topic. Within just
a couple of years, Kolmes became a sought-after expert and speaker on social
media ethics and her Twitter following grew to 86,500 at @drkkolmes. She
published an op ed in The New York Times about the challenges of consumer
review sites for psychotherapists and is a frequent news source for the media.
She admits that her online presence
Dr. Keely Kolmes grew her Twitter
can have drawbacks, such as having to
tamp down her sense of humor. “I have
an online persona, and it’s still me … but
sarcasm and complaints about customer
service, for example, don’t always wear
well on a psychologist’s professional
She cautions psychologists who want
to be as active on social media to be
humble: “Don’t be afraid to be wrong or
to say you’re sorry,” she says. In a world
where one offensive tweet can become
national news, learn when to rein in your
emotions. “If something someone says
makes you angry, take a break,” she says.
following to 86,500 as an expert on
social media ethics.