Digital Footprint Of A Physician

Recently I had an interesting conversation with a lawyer and medical students about being professional and using Facebook. This made me think of the digital footprint we leave in the online sphere. How much of this footprint can we control?

According to the lawyer: not much. Let me ask you a question. Do you remember reading the terms of use of Facebook before clicking “I agree” to sign up? I didn’t think so. I remember NOT reading it. Let’s be realistic, it is a pretty long read. And now according to the lawyer, Facebook owns every picture of me ever posted. Tagged or untagged.

This point made the medical students a little more worried. The importance of online reputation doesn’t just start when you have patients. For that you have to get into a good residency program and climb the ladder of the medical profession. And your online activities could play a big role in whether you get accepted to that program or not. So when exactly do you have to start being careful with social media? And how can you avoid leaving a digital footprint that will hurt your career?

A recent blog post on discussed a similar issue. The article suggested that this is a relatively new phenomenon which concerns the new generation of physicians. I have to agree with this statement. 30 years ago no one had to deal with online reputation. The blog post also stated that eventually this problem will most likely be solved since everyone is going to be on Facebook with similar concerns. I have to disagree here. I strongly believe that there has to be a way to protect your identity and reputation AND use social media at the same time. And I’m optimistic enough to think that in a few years we’re going to learn how to do so. So waiting for the youngest generation to have the same problem we do is just not good enough. Hoping that they will have questionable pictures on Facebook is not a solution and it’s definitely not a constructive way of thinking about social media.


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  1. The future generation of online physicians « h2onlinehu
  2. Ethics and social media in medical school « h2onlinehu
  3. A közösségi média szabályai az orvosi egyetemen « hcsmhu

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