Home > Social Media > Can Social Media make you “Anti-Social”?

Can Social Media make you “Anti-Social”?

When facebook started we were  a little skeptical  but then started to adopt it, we started befriending people and  tagging them on pictures. You started what? TAGGING…  Ohh Boy… My eyes saw the world in a different way the first time I heard the concept.  I am a very friendly person, but just as I enjoy being with  friends, I enjoy being by myself the same way. I could and still can,  spend a weekend alone, playing video games, reading, exercising, and not feel that my weekend was wasted. Many of my colleagues don’t share my personality and love going out.  When they do  go out and enjoy themselves, every now and then they take pictures.  Later or at that same moment, pictures get uploaded to facebook, flickr, foursquare, you name it.  The problem is sometimes these  pictures are judged by eyes that should not really be seeing them. They do not understand the concept in which they were taken.

So call it paranoia but a few years back,  I decided to  limit  the amount of pictures taken of me as well as limiting WHO took the pictures to a certain extent.  Before the internet became popular, a picture or comment was something only shared by a few.  A picture, now, if  uploaded, is something shared by thousands  but the context is still only shared by a few.

So I “Googled”  Social Media Etiquette for Doctors and  found the article below

American Medical Association

AMA Policy: Professionalism in the Use of Social Media

These are just a couple of the points mentioned rest can be found in previous link.  I selected a couple and decided to comment on them. Here they are;

 (a) Physicians should be cognizant of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that must be maintained in all environments, including online, and must refrain from posting identifiable patient information online. 

R: Clear as water. No comment

(B) When using the Internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible, BUT 1)  should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the Internet, content is likely there permanently. Thus, 2) physicians should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.

R1)  So now think back if you have ever had a compromising picture taken, be it old or recent. Remember, anyone who has access to it could upload it to the internet without you even knowing and not think about the repercussions it could have, photographs are taken of us without even knowing.  Will you or are you modifying the way you behave with people in parties or social events because of this concern? Do you think twice before having a picture taken because of the possibility the context is misinterpreted?  I could continue asking questions all day.

Even more Concerning

R2) Routinely monitor internet presence? LOL… GOOD LUCK ON THAT ONE, yes since we ALL have the time to do this… I think what this means is the following; Routinely have SOMEONE else monitor your internet presence and pay them for this task…Maybe it will be Mr. Google, or maybe an application done by third party incorporated to Facebook or maybe just maybe a lucrative company arises that will offer this service to you (maybe it exists already).  Ex. Hey Dr. X, we are a company that monitors your internet presence and for $5,000 a year you’ll have a system screening any “red flag” events  that involve you and delete it. Which if you think about, it could be double edged sword… Another possible scenario could be… starting to pay an  “Internet Presence Liability Insurance”!? Oh Great…

(c) If they interact with patients on the Internet, physicians must maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship in accordance with professional ethical guidelines just, as they would in any other context. 

R: No comments.  Simple to do I guess.

(d) To maintain appropriate professional boundaries physicians should consider separating personal and professional content online. 

R:  In other words start creating  another  Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, Flickr and Twitter account for work, or don’t share any personal information in your social media accounts, think twice about the jokes you now say.  This basically contradicts the purpose of the whole social media concept in my opinion. Another option could be just to start behaving like a Tibetan Monk…It seems like Social Media is not that social after all? Yes this is an extreme, but some need the extreme scenario for an idea to sink in. Sometimes I do…

So, back to the question… Can Social Media make you Anti-Social? In other words is social media affecting the way you behave in the real world?

Just to be clear… I am in FAVOR of Social Media in healthcare, but as someone new to it, I am recommending people who are getting into it to be mature and cautious on how they approach the matter.  As an example I am recommending many of my colleagues to start deleting some of the pictures they have in FB before it is too late but most likely it is too late for some of them…  Am I exaggerating? I do not think so but we can always agree to disagree and have a conversation. That is what blogs are for.

Thanks for Reading 😉

Categories: Social Media
  1. June 6, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Great Post Christian,
    Only want to toss in the fact that we have been creating separate accounts for all of our departments, and encourage all colleagues that will be using FB, Twitter or other Social Media professionally to have a “business-account”.
    also for zero-dollar there are some great tools to mopnitor your online presence.
    Like Social Mention : http://socialmention.com/search/?t=all&q=%22Christian+Assad%22&btnG=Search
    or Addictomatic http://addictomatic.com/topic/%22christian+assad%22
    Both(and there are a lot of others out there) you have to tweak to get it suitable for your own use.

  2. June 6, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Hi Christian,
    More than agree with you. To support your post I will quote two examples from sectors other than healthcare.
    In 2009, the newly elected government appointed as General Secretary, a successful finance manager in the private sector. He happened to hv a FB account in which he joked with his friends about the new government. After his appointment, a FB user found out about the jokes, publicised them in FB, the press took over, the man stayed in service less than a week…
    A female police officer had a FB account in which she uploaded photos, in one of them she was shown drinking, party dressed, in a group. The police HQs thought this photo in FB is unacceptable for a police officer, she was fired…

    In healthcare, things are more delicate and before venturing into social media, one should decide why, for what purpose he/she uses them and apply common sense regarding what is private and should remain such and what is public and might be published….

    • June 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      Those are EXCELLENT examples Kathi, thank you so much for sharing them. Something that I heard in Futuremed 2011 conference at Singularity University made me worry to a certain extent. One of the speakers mentioned. You think there is privacy? Just look around you, there are cameras everywhere. In a future there is going to be a database that has face recognition, every picture, every video of us will be easily identified. How that information is going to affect us is yet to be seen. Well, it does not take much to imagine how it can negatively affect you. In other words, everyone needs to behave like there is a “big brother” looking what you do. Not only in social media but 24/7.
      One just has to be very responsible. I love to joke, love to laugh and make people laugh, but without a doubt I think twice before saying a joke, taking a picture, making a comment, and in a future maybe even sneezing 😉
      Thanks again!

  3. Michael Breighton
    June 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I am a 4th year medical student and just wanted to thank you for opening my eyes. I never considered that my current actions could come back and hunt me in a future. It is obvious that as soon as we choose a medical pathway we need to behave like role models for our patients. Thank you for everything and keep up the good work.

  4. June 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Hello, I am a Dermatologist from Spain. I think that when you open an account in FB, Twitter, etc. this is your second-self. People are interacting with your second-self when you are not there. So you have to maintenance it, I mean that you have to present yourself in digital life in the same way you do in real life. Not sharing photos you don´t like everybody looks, trying to be educated, etc.
    Doctors have to decided who are going to be here, profesional or personal, and tailor it.

    • June 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      De acuerdo contigo Maria. Existe un problema en mi opinion y eso es lo que las demas personas hacen con tu “segundo yo”. Por ejemplo. Yo he asistido conferencias muy importantes, entre ellas las de Cardiologia y en la noche existen fiestas/reuniones. En algunas de ellas existen algunos doctores que no manejaron bien el alcohol, ya sea porque nunca beben, o por otras cuestiones. Ellos creen que estan en una fiesta privada pero la realidad es que sin que ellos sepan otros los graban, toman fotos, y luego son compartidas con otras personas. Todo es un chiste, pero un chiste que puede salir muy caro. Este es el problema. Podemos tratar de limitar a nuesto segundo yo pero la verdad es que cuando involucras a gente que te rodea en la ecuacion… Es muy dificil, tu presencia en el internet puede ser modificada sin que uno mismo lo sepa.

  5. Miguel Perales
    June 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    So no what? Am I not allowed to do what I want because I am a doctor and someone else wants me to behave in some way. I am sorry, but this is just ridicuolous. I am a 2nd year internal medicine resident in Dallas and with all the restrictions we already have in the medical setting now in the social setting? I think this is bull

  6. July 29, 2013 at 2:01 am

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