A recent distasteful picture of a selfie during a digital vaginal examination has exposed the perils and treachery of social media. Calling for doctors not to partake of this media is certainly not the answer as well. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc are likely to stay with us for many decades to come.
The question is how do we handle this new found freedom of expression where you could ‘verbalise’ anything just by a click of the mouse. How do we manage or prevent that spur of the moment angst, often regretting later? Remember what you leave digitally is forever imprinted in the Internet, even if you attempted to delete it.
A few guides and rules to live by.
1. Never post anonymously. If you are to post anything online, the very least you could do is to own up to those comments. In this way, one might think first before putting up a post or comment.
2. Maximize the function of groupings and security settings in your social media. Colleagues may need to be separated with family members or for some, patients. Hence, postings can be directed to only a certain group and won’t be blasted out. Social media does not necessarily need to be an open forum, unless we allow them to be publicly posted.
3. Pretend that the conversations are happening face to face. Do realize that we can no longer hide behind the screen. Digital conversations are real, well most of the time, unless you are dealing with computer robots!
4. Never friend someone who does not even dare to post his photo or details online, unless you know them personally. It usually signifies that he/she is unwilling to put their reputation on the line and is not ready for the digital realm.
5. Share your digital ID with your real life contacts. That’s you after all, be proud of it.
6. Practice common sense. This can’t really be taught. Exercise this everytime you go online. In fact, exercise this with your every breath!
Social media is here to stay. Deal with it!