3 common complaints about using social media and how to overcome them

As social media continues to grow in popularity, radiologists and radiology practices alike are using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to provide additional value to patients. A recent analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology explored some examples of how users can get the most out of these new technological tools, including a look at some of the most common complaints and problems associated with social media.

These are three common complaints or problems people often associate with the use of social media—and how users can overcome them:

Complaint #1: Social media does not seem professional

Social media certainly features its fair share of unprofessional content, but should that scare off radiologists and others? The authors noted that, “both online and offline,” medical imaging professionals should always respect the privacy of their patients and the dignity of their colleagues. Developing and implementing specific guidelines is listed as one way to overcome any concerns about inappropriate conduct.

“Although some organizations are liberal with the only restriction being academia’s moral code, others are not,” wrote lead author Teresa M. Chan, MD, MHPE, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues. “Mayo Clinic is a more liberal institution that has a simple 12-word social media policy: ‘Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry, Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete, Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal.’ Other organizations are more prescriptive when it comes to the conduct of their members, although many times this may be because of reactions to sentinel events.”

Complaint #2: A lack of comfort with social media

Chan et al. noted that anyone uncomfortable with using social media should find a “Twibe,” which is a group of Twitter users who have a shared interest and interact with one another. This is not that can exclusively be done with Twitter—a radiologist using Facebook for the first time might feel much more at ease after they post messages to a fellow radiologist, for example, or someone else who works at the same hospital.

Complaint #3: Groupthink

“Although social media can become a place where like-minded people connect, this may be problematic for a modern academic,” the authors wrote. “As part of a homogeneous group, scholars tend to hold a rather unified view of the world, leading to the phenomena of ‘groupthink,’ which may prevent them from understanding or interacting with more diverse perspectives.”

The authors added that groupthink could be avoided if users communicate with individuals with opposing views and work to have “open, courteous, academic discourse.” Such communication can help social media users stay active while keeping the groupthink to a minimum.