The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals
September 28, 2015
In this technology-driven time, it would be impossible to think that your employers would want you to stay away from social media use.
With that being said, there are certain pros and cons of social media usage that you need to be aware of. You should strive to make good judgment calls when commenting, posting, and sharing via social media sites.
Social media use can help create new connections for you in your professional life, and also tear down existing ones.
If you’re not careful in how you approach your social media handling, then you might risk losing your job and damaging your reputation.
Social media offers many benefits when it comes to professional development and maintaining relationships that, 30 years ago, would have been much more difficult. However, as with anything, with the good, comes to bad.
Here are the most relevant pros and cons of social media for professionals, or those of you about to enter the professional world.
The Pros and Cons of Social Media:
The Pros of Social Media
The Cons of Social Media
|1. Social media has the ability to spread information faster than ever before.||1. Social media has the ability to spread misinformation faster than ever before.|
|2. Government agencies can use social media to track and catch criminals.||2. Users are exposed to privacy intrusions by government agencies and corporate entities.|
|3. Social media stimulates debate and the spread of educational information.||3. Social media is a huge distraction for students who manage time poorly.|
|4. Social media improves relationships that otherwise would be difficult to maintain.||4. Social media can lead to stressed offline relationships.|
|5. Social media helps to empower women in the workplace.||5. Social media pushes people to waste their time.|
|6. Social media sites help employers fill positions and job-seekers find work.||6. Social media can harm job security and employment prospects.|
|7. Being active in social media can improve quality of life and reduce health problems.||7. Social media usage is correlated with personality and brain disorders, such as the inability to hold in-person conversations.|
|8. Social media facilitates face-to-face conversations.||8. Social media causes more people to spend less time holding face-to-face conversations.|
|9. Social media helps with economic growth.||9. Social networking sites harm employee productivity.|
|10. Social media helps seniors feel more connected to society.||10. Social networking sites promote sexting.|
|11. Social media allows for quick and easy dissemination of public health and safety information from reputable source.||11. Social media encourages amateur advice and self-diagnosis of health problems.|
|12. Social media spreads academic research to a wider audience.||12. Social media enables cheating on school assignments and exams.|
|13. Universities and colleges use social media to recruit and retain students.||13. Social media use can harm a students’ chances of college admission.|
|14. Social media posts cannot be deleted and information can have unintended consequences.|
|15. Social networking users are more vulnerable to security attacks.|
Whether you know it or not, you represent your hospital/clinic and the nursing profession as a whole with every single post, photo, or share you submit on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The key is to learn the tricks and tips that will help you keep your posts respectful, clean, and appropriate for everyone.
The Pros of Social Media
• Social media has the ability to spread information faster than ever before. This is one of the best pros of social media due to the fact that it used to take a while for individuals to catch onto new and exciting topics.
With social media, more users can become more informed about topics they are interested in, and find ways to participate in those activities they are passionate about.
• Government agencies can use social media to track and catch criminals. Social media is a powerful tool for helping individuals stay a little bit safer.
With some of the recent features like checking in when you attend a concert, go to dinner, or visit an event, criminals who make these mistakes will have the ability of broadcasting where they are at any given moment.
This means that social media is aiding government agencies in reducing worry amongst the general public.
• Social media stimulates debate and the spread of educational information. In relation to spreading more information faster than ever before, social media also helps stimulate intellectual debates.
Productive intellectual debates is just one of the many positives of social media in healthcare, as it helps generate discussions on how to improve care and treat patients more efficiently.
• Social media improves relationships that would otherwise be difficult to improve. One of the great things about social media is that social media allows people to connect with one another in ways that hadn’t been considered before.
With just a few clicks you can connect with someone you haven’t met before and establish relationships where none existed before.
This means that social media will also improve existing relationships that are difficult to maintain due to distance.
Social media enables individuals to connect with one another and establish deeper forms of communication – which also has a positive effect on the healthcare industry.
Social media advancements will help healthcare professionals connect and communicate with their patients more, to get a better understanding of how they are feeling and ways in which they can improve their care.
• Social media helps empower women in the workplace. Social media is a useful tool for showcasing highlights and achievements.
One of the many ways that social media can help empower women in the workplace is through the use of a Shared article, video, or post on a social media feed.
In this way, individuals can showcase their own personal achievements, or highlight top performers in the healthcare industry.
• Social media sites help employers fill positions and job-seekers find jobs. One powerful aspect of social media moving forward is to increasingly become a one-stop shop for everything related to communities.
And one aspect of helping communities is to help individuals find jobs, or find qualified talent for those jobs.
In this way, social media is a useful tool for employers and job seekers to connect on available positions in local areas.
With a few simple clicks to share an available job posting, or find someone who has previous healthcare experience employers can showcase available positions to qualified talent.
Social media will be even more powerful in helping find qualified talent for open job postings moving forward.
• Being active in social media can help improve quality of life and reduce health problems. One thing people don’t consider with social media is that it allows individuals to stay connected to one another.
Before social media, those individuals who had little social life could often feel like they weren’t connected to anyone around them. This created the sense of being alone in a gigantic world, and it could get overbearing sometimes.
With the progression of social media over time, individuals can stay in tune with what their friends are doing, what recent events are going on around them, establish new ways of finding relationships, and share their opinions with others.
When people feel more in tune with what’s going on around them and less isolated, their overall health will improve as well as their sense of connectedness rises.
• Social media facilitates face to face discussions. While many believe that social media is making society more isolated due to the fact that they don’t have to go outside to connect with one another, that simply isn’t true.
Individuals are using social media to connect and meet up with individuals they haven’t had a conversation with in a long time.
Social media allows for people to plan a time for when they should get together, and set a date on one of the many calendar tools in each social media platform.
With each meetup or social media event that gets shared, there are tools for individuals to use to facilitate face to face discussions.
Social media is also a great way for those shy individuals to find like-minded people who have similar interests and connect with them, and establish face to face contact that way as well.
• Social media helps with economic growth. Another pro of social media is that it helps drive economic growth. Professionals and businesses can use social media to help drive business to any industry, and increase awareness about products and services offered.
In addition, social media is another marketing platform for businesses and professionals to use to market upcoming events, products, or services. This means that social media can help create additional buzz and increase revenues and profits.
In fact, entire businesses have been built around the use of social media and driving business.
If an individual makes a product that doesn’t get a lot of attention because the marketplace is too saturated with competitors, but has a post on social media go viral – their entire revenue could hinge on the viral social media post.
As a result, social media is critical moving forward for businesses and professionals to utilize – especially in the healthcare industry.
• Social media helps seniors feel more connected to society. One common complaint for senior citizens is that they feel so disconnected to those who are younger than them.
Social media is a great way for senior citizens to reconnect with society, and stay in tune with what younger generations are passionate about, and what they are participating in.
In addition, social media is a great avenue for senior citizens to stay in tune with what is going on in the world outside what is provided to them through normal news channels or newspapers.
In addition, similar to other generations, senior citizens are able to connect with friends and family members that have become estranged over the years.
Social media also enables senior citizens to learn more about current technology, and the benefits of technology in their daily lives.
• Social media allows for quick and easy dissemination of public health and safety information. Social media is a great way for individuals to gather public health and safety info and recommendations.
Social media is a useful way for healthcare professionals to share public notices and make sure that individuals are aware of the importance of new medical procedures and safety standards.
Similar to marketing campaigns, social media can help increase awareness about recent illness trends, and how best to avoid them and stay safe.
• Social media spreads academic research to new readers. One aspect of social media many don’t realize is that social media allows for individuals to share and showcase their academic achievements as well.
One such academic achievement might be a recent published research article, or recent findings that might have an impact on society moving forward.
For instance, if a company unveils a new way to diagnose heart conditions through years of research and are seeking ways to implement that research, a simple share might drive professional connections to them that would know a way to do so.
For instance one person might view that share and think about developing a software package to sell to hospitals and healthcare facilities to help doctors and physicians diagnose heart patients.
Social media is a great way to continually drive academic research into modern technology advancements.
In addition, it has the potential of expanding the audience reach into a much wider array, instead of just those academic professionals who only view academic journals.
• Universities use social media to attract and retain students. Another pro of social media is that universities are increasingly using them to attract and retain students.
Social media is a great platform for visual aids, and universities use them to showcase some of the great visual aspects of attending college.
In addition, universities can partner up with professional organizations, such as hospitals and healthcare facilities to showcase why their students should be hired over other candidates.
One of the great bragging points for each university is their hiring rate or how quickly graduates find a position. Social media can help foster those professional connections much quicker, and help make universities look a little bit better.
The Cons of Social Media
• Social media has the ability to spread misinformation faster than ever before. One drawback about social media, and one con of social media in the healthcare industry is that it can spread misinformation quickly.
Social media is a platform which allows everyone to share whatever they want to, with limited restrictions.
Whether it’s to gain attention to a fake news article, or someone trying to get famous overnight, you have to be careful what you consider as authentic on social media.
This means that when you view something on social media, you have to make sure that the source the piece of content is coming from is an authentic one.
• Users are exposed to privacy violations and intrusions by government agencies and corporate identities. It seems like almost every other day we hear of a major company that is getting hacked and private user data being stolen.
This is no different in the social media realm, as social media platforms are getting attacked every single day. Whether or not each attack is successful is one thing, but users run the risk of potentially having their private information stolen from an unwanted source.
This means that anybody who places private information on social media and don’t want others to know about, run the risk of letting that information get out to people who would seek to exploit that information.
Imagine if you had some of your most delicate healthcare data on your social media, and then your account data was stolen. That delicate healthcare data is now available for everyone else to use if it gets out into the public forum.
This is just one of the many cons of social media in healthcare.
• Social media is a distraction for people who manage time poorly. Another drawback of social media in healthcare is that it can reduce overall employee productivity.
We’ve all been in that situation where we think to ourselves, “I’ll just check it for a few seconds.” After those first few seconds, it quickly steamrolls into a fifteen minute session as you catch up on what your friends and family are up to on social media.
For those organizations who want to eliminate this risk, they also risk being perceived as an overbearing employer. If a company sets out guidelines that restrict mobile phone usage or computer usage while on the job, employees will react negatively.
Social media in the healthcare industry is especially concerning, as the time an employee is spent on their social media accounts directly correlates to the amount of care that a patient isn’t receiving.
• Social media can lead to stressed offline relationships. Another problem with social media is that it can lead to tension and stress when you’re not online.
Stress and tension typically arises when you see someone share something that you were interested in, or that they shared and didn’t let you know about it. Or perhaps someone is commenting on a status or talking with someone and you perceive it as flirting, even though it isn’t.
It’s little things like this that we don’t realize eventually builds stress when you’re not online and aware of how it is going to affect you.
• Social media pushes people to waste their time. Similar to how social media can reduce professional productivity, social media also has the potential of distracting individuals and wasting their own time outside of the workplace setting.
The reason for this, is social media platforms are increasingly finding ways to implement new systems and tools to keep users engaged for longer periods of time. When users are engaged for longer periods of time, they are exposed to more advertisements – which is how social media platforms make the most money.
In this way, when you’re outside of your professional workplace and on social media, you might find that you are on social media for hours at a time because you get so engaged with one thing or another.
This is one of the many cons of social media, as more individuals are spending time on social media and other various platforms instead of investing time into themselves through developmental tools like reading, additional education, etc.
• Social media can harm employment stability or opportunities. One major con of social media is that it can potentially harm your employment stability or future employment opportunities based on what you say or do on your accounts.
We’ve seen those news articles about one individual who decided to share their opinion on social media about a controversial topic, and got fired shortly after.
Now more than ever, companies and industries are holding their employees responsible for what they post, like, follow, or share on their social media accounts.
As an employee, it is understood that you represent that business or company when you are outside of work, and the healthcare industry is no different.
This means that companies want outstanding citizens who don’t negatively impact the reputation and branding from posts online.
Even if your profile is private, you still run the risk of negatively impacting the reputation based on the viral nature of social media platforms in general.
All it takes is for one person to see your post, and then it goes viral. News platforms and professional organizations will paraphrase your comments, and then mention a little bit of background – such as where you work.
That’s all it takes to harm your employment stability and potentially damage your future opportunities.
• Social media use is correlated to mental disorders. One con of social media is that it can lead to mental disorders.
We grow so accustomed to certain social reactions when we post or share something, and we get a euphoric feeling associated with each, “like” or “appreciation”. The problem, is that we become accustomed to those reactions, and when we don’t get them we respond negatively.
This can lead to certain mental conditions developing over time such as depression cause we feel like our social status or perception is based on how people react to our social platform posts.
• Social media sites promote inappropriate behavior. Another con associated with social media sites is that they can promote inappropriate behavior due to the disconnection from the physical world.
As so much of the interactions on a social media platform occur digitally and online, people think that they can do or say things without any consequences.
As such, people will post or behave in manners that are considered inappropriate. This behavior has always been around since the dawn of the internet, but it has been increasing over time as people feel less responsible for their digital actions.
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media:
The Dos of Social Media
The Don’ts of Social Media
|1. Be proud of your profession. Whether you’re at work or not, you’re a representative of your field and your employer.||1. Don’t violate HIPPA! Take patient privacy very seriously and do not post anything that would violate it. Stay familiar with the privacy rights of your patients.|
|2. Share good news and information about your employer and profession.||2. Avoid using hashtags and other identifiers that would tag you, your coworkers, or your employer to compromising photos or posts.|
|3. Speak highly of your employers new developments and accomplishments.||3. Never bash your employer or patients on social media. This is a good way to get overlooked for that promotion or outright lose your job.|
|4. Keep in mind that social media is a very public forum and is representative of your and your life.||4. Don’t click the “post” or “tweet” button if you have any reservations. If it feels even a little wrong, it probably is.|
As a healthcare professional you have to remember that you are a steward of the people and have a ton of vulnerable patient’s most personal information at your disposal.
It is easy to get caught up in using social media as a therapeutic outlet, but don’t forget that people trust you and nobody wants their embarrassing stories blasted on the internet even–if it is anonymous.
Trust your gut and never post anything online that you don’t want haunting you forever because once it’s published it will never totally be gone.