Social media. It’s not a new concept, but it’s certainly one that has gained unprecedented momentum in the past decade. With the growing popularity of networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the ease and regularity of “googling,” it’s important to consider how tweeting and photo tagging will affect your career as a physician. With more than 400 million active Facebook users and Twitteradding an estimated 300,000 new users each day, the chances of remaining untouched by social media are slim.
How can social networking benefit me?
Social networking sites can help to expand your reach and give others the opportunity to stay in touch. They can be very positive when job searching or trying to build a patient base.
You can learn in real time from peers across geographies and across specialties, share ideas regarding new practices, access collective insights and experience from a broader group, and disseminate information more quickly and with more efficiency. Social media can help your development as a physician by introducing you to additional resources and ways of thinking by putting you in contact with a large group of medical professionals.
In addition, many physician search firms, including VISTA, are making concerted efforts to reach you, as the healthcare provider, to inform you of new job opportunities and trends within the industry.
How can I protect my privacy?
Also, and this is important, if you use an external source to publish information (such as a mobile application), you should check the privacy setting for that post, as it is set by that external source.
Googling yourself is also a good step. If you’ve never done this before, be prepared to see cached information you may have long forgotten. Google is a reflection of the content and information publicly available on the Internet. Search engines do not have the ability to remove content directly from the Internet, so removing content from Google or another search engine would still leave the original content that exists on the Web. If you want to remove something from the Internet, your best bet is to contact the webmaster of the site and request removal. Here is the link to Google’s guide to removing information from search results.
Note on Patient Communications
When deciding to utilize these sites as a means to reach out to new/potential patients, keep in mind patient privacy issues and carefully monitor any and all content that is shared. Your employer/group and any hospital where you hold privileges likely have policies about patient communication and you should learn and adhere to those policies.