Social Media Question

I had a note show up in my inbox today about using social media. Specifically, I was asked the following: “My program coordinator strongly discourages being on Facebook and believes we shouldn’t use it if we are going to practice in this field. Thoughts?” Yeah, I have a couple…First, I am obviously a Facebook user: I have a big old icon on the front page of this site encouraging you to join FHO there. I also use Twitter for the same purposes. Both are excellent ways to spread information efficiently. But I also use Facebook personally. I travel constantly, as you know. Facebook lets me keep in contact with valued colleagues, family and friends no matter where I am in the world.

That being said, I am very clear on a few point. One is that my privacy settings are set pretty high. I am careful what I say there regardless, and you won’t find any pics of me doing anything I wouldn’t want to be cross-examined on in a couple years (or, you know, tomorrow). I have very little illusion about privacy on Facebook, and fortunately there are people with great legal brains who are thinking hard about the professional ramifications of what’s out there in the social media universe. For instance, the March issue of the American Health Lawyers Association’s journal has an article on the implications of healthcare provider use of social media, including liability issues (PDF). Medical ethicists are also weighing in, as seen in this new article over at the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Now this is all just my opinion, and many of you may not agree.  I’d love to hear what you think. Are you using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? Tell us why or why not–it’s an important discussion and I have no doubt there are points on this topic I have simply not considered.

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