Monday, July 13, 2015

Facebook and your reputation...

I was struggling with a topic to write about today, but Alexis has helped me out by reminding me about social media and how it can affect one's reputation.

Back in 2012, I blogged about this very issue.  It was October and I had been 40 years old for almost three months when I got a phone call from Fort Bragg Army post letting me know that it was time to get a mammogram.  Tricare had helpfully assigned me a physician's assistant who was supposed to oversee my healthcare.

I had never met this woman before and probably wouldn't have chosen to see her regardless.  Nevertheless, when you use Tricare insurance, sometimes you get stuck with whatever medical provider is convenient.  I looked up this provider and soon found her on Facebook and MySpace.  She was quite a bit younger than me and had unwisely posted photos of herself on social media, which she left open to the public.  The photos weren't really terrible, but they made me feel uncomfortable.  Incidentally, Bill later saw this woman one time for a prescription refill and he told me that my instincts about her were dead on.  He was not impressed.

I have a really hard time dealing with medical professionals.  I know they have lives and some of them like to party, but seeing evidence of my prospective healthcare provider's social life made me feel less trusting about her judgment.  I ended up not making the appointment to get the screenings.  I probably wouldn't have regardless of whether she'd posted photos of herself, but I would be lying if I said they made me even less interested in having this person look after my healthcare needs.  When it comes to my healthcare, I feel more comfortable with people who are closer to my age.  I need someone especially mature, regardless of whether or not he or she is younger or older, because medical people make me very nervous.

I ended up sharing this experience with some ladies I know online from back when I gave a shit about my husband's ex kids.  A bunch of them took me to task for not giving this provider a chance.  I must say, I was taken aback at the vitriol that was lobbed my way over this issue.  In my mind, a person who submits to medical care absolutely has the right to feel comfortable with their provider, especially if said provider is going to be looking at or touching private parts of the body.  If you're going to be touching my junk, I have the right to have high standards about whether or not you will be examining me.  Unless, of course, I'm unconscious or something.

I think doctors, lawyers, ministers and any other person in a position of trust and with the expectation of propriety should be very careful about what they put out there for public consumption.  If I were a doctor, I would have my Facebook account locked down like Fort Knox.  You have a life, but you don't need to be sharing it with everyone, especially prospective patients.  And sometimes people forget themselves on Facebook and put stuff out there that other people might judge unfavorably.

Of course, social media for professionals can be a good thing.  If you have a professional page set up for patients, it can be a good way to get information, build rapport, and even drum up business.  There's a dentist here in Germany who is active in our local Facebook group and I think he's gotten quite a few new patients simply because he's easy to catch on Facebook.

But professionals should always be judicious about using social media.  I think it's best if you have a page set up for your professional relationships and one set up for private use that includes people who know you or people who can't hurt you offline.  I also think professionals need to be very well versed in privacy controls and making sure nothing gets out there that could be embarrassing or damaging.

So Alexis, to you I say be very careful about Facebook.  It can definitely be a force for good or bad.  For more reading on this subject, check out this blog written by a dentist...  I think he hits the nail on the head when it comes to this issue.


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