Social Media


Firstly, the views on here are opinions that have crystallised from all the various guidances that exist. The references below are your first port of call on how to conduct yourself. Lower down i’ve shared some of my thoughts but just remember that the decision to engage with social media can be challenging. The boundaries online can become blurred so you have to maintain a safe default position. How you are perceived is very important.

Ultimately for every fan/follower/like/retweet you get, you may likely trigger someone and cause upset in which case there is ample opportunity for you to become nervous and embarrassed at best, but subject to adverse publicity, scrutiny and investigation at worst.

To start with, read the following:

GDPR – Recital 26 – anonymised information is not subject to GDPR

GMC Doctors use of social media

NHS Digital Social Media Usage

From the above sources i’m emphasising the following:

Social media can be a force for good if used properly, but we’ve seen that it doesn’t take much for a single comment made naively in the past to come back and cause career damage to celebrities. It is also far too easy to get into debate’s online, or post something that is upsetting for other people regardless of intent. When using any social media platform, including WhatsApp*, consider the following rules:

  1. Stay professional – watch your language – avoid anything controversial or anything that could be perceived as controversial
  2. No patient information. At all…EVER.
  3. Be respectful and maintain confidentiality. Remove yourself from situation that are escalating even if you are just a spectator
  4. Don’t publish anything that makes you look remotely like a fool. Doing stupid things just so you can trend on TikTok, or taking risqué/extravagant photos for the Gram is never going to do you any favours, especially as you mature into senior practice.
  5. Set and respect boundaries . Be cautious who you connect with.
  6. Be clear that on social media you represent yourself and not your employers

On the plus side creating a social media presence would do well to help disseminate information to the public and promote collaboration and network development. But make sure you review the content up there and manage your privacy settings.

  1. LinkedIn – good professional profile especially as it helps you connect with colleagues, industry and innovators. A good source of information as well.
  2. Researchgate – a research portfolio that will be accessible to all your colleagues. I find it very helpful to keep up with what everyone is doing and definitely helps promote knowledge sharing.
  3. Twitter – Good banter but #orthotwitter has a lot of good transatlantic MDTs and case discussions
  4. Facebook – Family and Friends only
  5. Instagram – If you want to publish selfies of you or pictures of food……
  6. TikTok – May have some educational value but you have to be wary not only of what you upload but how you frame it.

*WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. For all intents and purposes it cannot be considered a secure communication system despite what they say about end-to-end encryption. So when using WhatsApp treat it at you would any social media platform.

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