Doctors and Social Media: Benefits and Dangers

Neil Versel

Disclosures

November 09, 2009

In This Article

Introduction

Physicians use clinical medical sites regularly, but more and more are also turning to social media -- such as Facebook and online physician communities -- for professional reasons or networking.

In general, physicians use social media to seek out clinical information and opinions and discuss medical points of view with other doctors; to increase their professional exposure among colleagues and the general community, and for purely social reasons -- to stay in touch with family and friends.

Each type of usage has pros and cons for doctors and comes with some important guidelines. These guidelines can help you make sure the information you get is correct and can keep you out of trouble.

A famous cartoon from a decade and a half ago declared, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." That sense of anonymity still prevails on some parts of the Internet, but the advent of social media has turned the adage on its head. Put your name on Facebook or LinkedIn and people will find you. Contribute to a blog and yours might just become a household name.

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