Social media—friend or foe? How to manage your online reputation


Despite the widespread acceptance of social media, many surgeons have embraced this technology with hesitation. This is not without valid reasons. Yet, almost every surgeon has an online reputation, whether desired or not. Thus, knowing and managing the information about yourself is crucial.


But it's not only your own digital presence that matters. The traditional way of meetings and conferences is not feasible for many surgeons because of time constraints or the travel costs involved. Therefore, social media is also very cost effective and efficient channel to share and exchange relevant information with the worldwide community. As any physician with an internet connection is able to access it at a fingertip, it can not only be disseminated much faster but sometimes even better than through traditional communications channels.


Whether you are using social media to reach out to the online community for education, manage your own reputation, or simply advertising your services: embrace the advantages, and be aware of the disadvantages. It is important to understand the technology, learn its limitations, and utilize it in the best possible way, which may potentially result in better patient care.


Watch this video on how you can manage your online reputation:




Michael Fehlings:

"I use Twitter a lot for knowledge dissemination– making people aware of lectures we're giving and research we've published – and we've found that very helpful. I encourage all my students and faculty to have a LinkedIn profile because it's helpful in building a web profile. Patients check it a lot, which I find very positive from a professional side. We also have our web page and try to direct traffic there whenever possible. I also have a Wikipedia profile.  One area of caution is to be very careful in separating personal life from professional life, for example on Facebook. I also recommend surgeons to be careful about the types of photos disseminated on social media. With that caveat aside I'd say that social media, in general, is very positive for me."



Alpaslan Senkoylu:

"I use Facebook, Instagram, twitter. It allows me direct and effective contact not only with peers but also with patients."




Yohan Robinson:

"I use social media for marketing purposes. I promote myself (target: potential employers) and my research (target: potential funders, collaborators) on my professional Twitter account. I do not use Facebook for professional contacts, and try to leave Facebook for my close friends. I use LinkedIn as my professional updated CV and ResearchGate for my researcher portfolio.

Social media increases the velocity research (and opinion) spreads. This improves our development and affects my daily practice. The downside is patient e-mails on Facebook messenger as well as loss of privacy."