Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Dangers of FaceBook

Journal article from Student BMJ:

The Dangers of Facebook

Posted 12/29/2008

Neil Graham; Philippa Moore

Increasing numbers of doctors and medical students are turning to websites such as Facebook to make friends, chat, and organise social events. These innovations have made some aspects of life easier and are a powerful tool for communication, but they also blur the line between our personal and professional personas. With the veneer of friendship that's offered on these sites, it's all too easy to reveal more information than is appropriate. If this information falls into the wrong hands, problems can arise about your integrity, employment, and fitness to practise medicine.

In a recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the Facebook profiles of a group of medical students in Florida were scrutinised with the aim of establishing how dangerous Facebook could be in the intersection of personal and professional identities. The study found some profiles publicly displaying photographs of trainee medics drinking to excess, engaging in sexual behaviour, and, in one instance, posing with a dead racoon. Three of the 10 students in the sample had also joined groups on Facebook that could be interpreted as sexist or racist.[1]

Whether the private activities of a medical professional have an impact on their ability to practise is debatable, but it cannot be denied that putting private material in such a public arena has the potential to undermine trust in the profession.

What's interesting about this is that Doctors are normal people (surprised?). We get up to the same shit that others do. That's why Scrubs is such a bloody realistic show! Believe it or not.

The difference now? Our real personalities are available on the web for our patients to see. If we're not careful. Suddenly they know we're not God. Bummer.


Jade said...

I am a very very keen facebook user and so are many other people my age. My medical school should really just change their homepage to facebook. When they recently shutdown webct and introduced a cheaper and less organised version students turned to facebook for off-course and sometimes course disscussions.
It's mostly just silly fun and communication with the 'outside' world. Between facebook, google, Hi-5, my space and most recently twitter it is easy to find out more about people than they would have you know
There are really useful pages like Internship where SA interns and students talk about internship, best hospitals, swop posts etc.

Amith | Business Registration said...

Imagine in 100 years time, when all the current facebook users die. If all the profiles were to be not deleted - what a record it would be of where we were as a society, the sheer research value this would have.

Hmm no more digging in caves for artifacts. Look for your great grandparents profiles online. See what they saw.

Well, just a thought.

The Spear said...

My cousin, a young doctor fresh out of school, had given himself away on FB. Or at least his friends did. It turns out he is gay. I have no problem with that, but not everyone in the family feels the same.


Jim said...

I think Facebook has hit almost everyone. But that change should be welcome as Facebook, when used in conjunction with EMR can really play a big role in digitizing the patient care process. Both Patients and doctors can use the web as medium to exchange information.