The growth in the use of social media tools over the past two years has been astounding. There is nothing like an Olympic Games to highlight the benefits (and the risks) of social communication. A Vancouver Sun article published July 31, “Social media Games turn into five-ring circus”, highlighted that two athletes have already been sent home from the summer games: a Swiss soccer player and a Greek triple jumper for posting threatening or racist Tweets.
“In February 2010, during the Vancouver Games, Twitter was sending 50 million 140-character tweets per day; now, it’s over 400 million, and they are everywhere, washing over vessels big and small, changing the way the Games are run.”
The power of small 140-character messages in undeniable. What is also astounding is that the world is one’s moderator and critic. Even with 400 million Twitter messages being sent per day, those that were felt to be threatening or inappropriate were quickly rooted out and action was taken. And herein lies the risk for healthcare. If one has a medical practice website, Facebook account, LinkedIn account, Twitter account, etc. and uses these for information dissemination to patients, it is critically important that everyone within a practice should conform with an official communications policy regarding the content and context of specific social media communications. Assume that what you publish through social media will exist and be identifiable at some point in the future.
For more useful information on social media and its use in medical practice, read the following articles:
- Use of Social Media by Physicians
- 2062: The Good Old Days of Social Media
- Help I Can’t Take This Any More — How to Manage Information Overload
What are your experiences using Social Media? Add your thoughts by clicking on the “Comments” link below.