Should Your Doctor Diagnose You in a Facebook Chat?

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( — July 9, 2015) Ashfield, NSW — What started out as a college website (“hot or not”) Facebook has become the cornerstone of social media. Privacy experts are deeply concerned about the growing trend of opening up more of our personal information online.

The usefulness of social media has always been a double-edged sword. We can easily connect with an old high school friend and find out what’s happening around the world with a click of the mouse.

With all this access comes vulnerability, as well. 

According to Velocity Digital over 25% of Facebook users don’t use their privacy settings.  The amount of personal information can often boggle the mind of professional security experts. “Telling your story is critical to user engagement, branding and sales,” according to best selling author, Emma Sidney. “Connecting with people always revolves around story. The more you open up to your audience, the deeper your connection. But doing so also exposes you.”

Millennials, of course, are more comfortable using social media for more than simply connecting with friends. Using social media platforms to share musical tastes or communicate with their doctor are becoming more popular than picking up the telephone or an in-person meeting.

How far will online communication go in displacing live interaction? More importantly, will the security of online interaction ever be solid enough for exchanging highly personal data, like our medical information?

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Fifty-seven percent of respondents to a survey said that they were very interested in using Facebook and email to communicate with their physicians and to manage their health. More than half of respondents also said that they wanted to use their physicians’ websites to access health information.

More than a third said that they already communicated with their doctors via email, and 18 percent said they connected with their doctors on Facebook, a surprising finding considering that many health care providers have rules barring this mode of interaction with patients due to privacy concerns and ethical guidelines for physicians.

In her international best selling book, 10 Hot Tips for Social Media Success, Sidney covers the basics of building your social media program, but also cautions newbies to avoid the common pitfalls that come with being online. “Before engaging my company, most of my clients get stuck or discouraged with how to build, manage and navigate their social media presence. In our companion checklist (free when they get the book) 10 Costliest Mistakes Business Owners Make on Social Media, we remind them to carefully review their privacy settings.”

While the security of our personal information will always be a concern, the trend towards using social media more, not less, doesn’t appear to be declining anytime soon.


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Social Media Mentor

28 Cecil Street
Ashfield, NSW 2131