The Social Media “Don’ts” for Docs

Technology is our lives. Let’s be real. Where would we be without the illumination of our little beloved boxes that keep us feeling like we have the entire world in our pockets and purses? Although it hasn’t been long that we’ve been so ingrained into using social media in every spare moment of our day, we have to come to terms with the fact that it’s here to stay and only going to be more and more crucial to our everyday routine.           

But, here’s the kicker.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.57.48 PMSocial media is dangerous as hell. It’s ruined entire careers. I mean, there are stories all the time about people who get fired from jobs 30 minutes after the interview due to a SUPER bad error in judgment involving something they post on their social media accounts. So although it helps us reach a creative outlet, connect with our friends (and connect with our not-friends), and keep us up-to-date with trends…it can devastate entire lives if not preceded with the utmost caution.


You don’t want to “be a doctor” online.


Avoid the social media screw-ups

  • The Hazards of HIPAA violations: As if this shouldn’t be already ingrained in your mind and stuck on repeat like a broken record, you want to be careful to protect your patients’ private information. Even when there’s times letting off steam by tweeting about a silly patient, you must refrain. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES comment about patients or any things that occur in the practice.
  • Avoid advice: Don’t give specific medical advice online. You don’t want to risk giving out some bad medical advice without physically examining someone. That’s not professional. Giving the wrong medical consul may impact your career and tarnish your reputation.
  • Keep your personal life separate: Beware befriending patients on your social pages. Keep that life to yourself. Think about it. Patients are not going to trust you professionally if they see you reblogging memes or posting pictures of you holding a dry martini.
  • Don’t even mention that anyone is a patient: Even if you’re simply acknowledging that someone is a patient online, you’re violating their rights and circling back to the HIPAA violation. Sometimes someone might give you praise for being a great physician. In those cases, you want to politely thank them for their kind words and leave it at that.
  • Don’t complain: First off, whether you’re a mature MD or a 15-year-old school girl, complaining on Facebook is a huge turn-off. Don’t complain about your day, your work, you colleagues, or ANYTHING. Don’t announce you’re dreading going into work, don’t nag about your neighbor’s loud music, just don’t. Venting is healthy. But, just talk to a friend and don’t let it leak online.
  • Don’t pay the troll toll: There’s no reason for getting involved in conflicts online. It’s only going to diminish your credibility and frankly, it’s just plain petty. Keep yourself out of the controversy.


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