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As a physician, you may have multiple accounts for the same social media site to allow you to switch between your personal account and professional account: your personal account, where you can interact with family and friends, and share your personal opinions and views. Then there's your professional account which allows you to interact with colleagues and peers in your industry. Your professional social media account can say a lot about you, so you want to make sure that it is conveying the right message about you.
When setting up social media accounts, most are not camera-ready to take a quick photo to use as a profile picture. Do not choose a photo where it is hard to tell who you are because the lighting is too dark, you're in a group, or it's a close-up selfie. Try to use a headshot taken by your training program or hospital or ask someone to snap a photo of you later in front of a blank wall or background.
You should use the "about me" section to list out your specialty and even include how long you've been practicing. This is a great way to give others a better idea of who you are and where your credibility comes from. For example, if you see an account on social media share opinions on physician safety, but they are a mechanic, it may not be as compelling as another physician sharing that opinion.
Posting an opinion or comment online can be easier than saying it to a person's face because there is no direct communication. It is a good idea to ask yourself, "Is this something I would say to them in person?" before posting it online. The internet is forever, which is why many athletes and celebrities have had to come out recently to defend old social media postings. Try to share fact-based articles and not opinion-based articles to avoid getting into a political/religious/morality debate over a posting on your professional account that may get you in trouble with your organization.
I have come across some comments on my professional media that have made me unfriend, unfollow, or un-connect with physicians. Remember that this means your colleagues, boss, program director, and others can see what you are commenting. If you are making derogatory, racist, homophobic, or threatening comments, it may make people uninterested in the article you shared, and instead click the unfollow or unfriend button.
Your professional social media should be used to network with your peers and colleagues, share interesting updates in your field, and celebrate achievements with work. Make sure that you keep your social media up to date even if you do not post often. This will allow you to look at any updated privacy information and to see what is going on with your account(s). You should also review your company's social media policy to ensure that your account(s) are staying compliant.
Hayley Woszczynski - Physician & Program Relations Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.