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"Future Doctors Share Too Much on Facebook"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by cbrons, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Subject: FW: UF News: Future doctors share too much on Facebook, UF researchers say
    Future doctors share too much on Facebook, UF researchers say
    July 10, 2008
    Media Contact: April Frawley Birdwell, [email protected],
    Writer: Tim Lockette, [email protected],

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Would it bother you to know that your physician smokes cigars and likes to do "keg stands"? That your gynecologist was a member of a group called "I Hate Medical School"? That your urologist is a fan of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"? That is exactly the sort of information many people share on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

    According to a new University of Florida study, many medical students are sharing far too much.

    "College has traditionally been a time in life when non-normative behaviors are considered OK," said Dr. Lindsay Acheson Thompson, an assistant professor of general pediatrics at UF's College of Medicine. "I'm not sure I would want to have a permanent, public record of everything I did 10 years ago, but many of our students are creating just such a record, and they need to understand the problems this may cause."

    Thompson and several researchers from the UF's colleges of Education and Medicine did a review of the Facebook sites of 362 UF medical students and residents and found that a significant portion of them were publicizing personal information most physicians would never share with their patients.

    The study was published this week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

    The researchers looked up more than 800 medical students by name on Facebook, finding that 44 percent of them (for a total of 362) had profiles on the social networking service. Only 37 percent of those students had made their Facebook entries private — the most obvious safeguard against revealing too much personal information on the Web.

    The Facebooking students seemed to be aware of the personal safety issues inherent in social networking: only 6 percent revealed a home address. However, students were looser with lifestyle information including sexual orientation (revealed by more than half of Facebook-using students), relationship status (revealed by 58 percent of students) and political opinions or positions (revealed by half of students).

    But the numbers tell only part of the story. The researchers randomly selected 10 Facebook profiles for a more in-depth analysis, looking for hard-to-quantify items that patients or colleagues might find objectionable. Seven of the 10 included photographs in which the subject was drinking alcohol, and some form of excessive or hazardous drinking was implied in as many as half of those photos.

    Three of the 10 students in the sample had joined groups that could be interpreted as sexist ("Physicians looking for trophy wives in training") or racially charged ("I should have gone to a blacker college").

    Facebook is full of bluster and trash talk, and college-age users may feel that these items are not to be taken seriously. Yet patients and future employers, the researchers say, may not have quite so strong a taste for irony.

    "Doctors are held to a higher standard," Thompson said. "There are stated codes of behavior that are pretty straightforward, and those standards encourage the development of a professional persona."

    The medical profession isn't the only career that requires young people to develop a professional identity. The medical school study was modeled closely on an earlier study that looked at the Facebook use of future elementary-school teachers studying in a college of education. Generally, the education majors' postings were relatively tame, but the study found that many future teachers shared information to an unsafe degree. For instance, almost half of those with public accounts posted their home address on Facebook.

    Associate professor Kara Dawson — one of several College of Education researchers who worked on both studies — says the goal of this line of research is not to discourage Facebook use but to make students aware of the demands of a professional persona. There is some evidence that students do begin to understand the impact of Facebook as they approach graduation. The study found that while 64 percent of medical students had public Facebook accounts, only 12 percent of resident physicians did.

    The researchers say they have ample anecdotal evidence to show that medical schools across the nation have a similar problem.

    "When we presented this at the Pediatric Academic Societies in May, we were overwhelmed with requests from pediatric program directors who wanted to know how to get their students to be more careful on Facebook," said co-author Erik Black, a doctoral student and fellow at the College of Education. "This is a global problem, and ours is one of the first studies to address the problem head-on."

    The researchers note that awareness of this problem is rapidly growing, and many UF medical students have cleaned up their online presence significantly in the 12 months since the data for the study were collected. The researchers would like to take this awareness a step further, encouraging students to use social networking sites to enhance their professional identity.

    "Social networking is a powerful tool," Dawson said. "Both teachers and doctors can use networking to their advantage — but they need to create sites that reflect their professional identity."


    // source: http://prehealth.buffalo.edu/bulletin/article-regarding-facebook-for-future-doctors/
     
  2. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    so don't make your profile public
     
  3. LossForWords

    LossForWords PGY-1
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    Srsly.
     
  4. HugzMonster

    HugzMonster Will Hug Without Warning
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    Agreed. Don't even post them at all. People are naive if they think that posting compromising information/images on the internet isn't going to create the risk of negative consequences in their professional life. This isn't exclusive to just those working in the medical field. It pretty much applies to anyone who wants to hold a responsible job.
     
  5. Twiigg

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    I think it can be dangerous to put it on the internet in the first place, whether private or not.
     
  6. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom
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    What surprises me is that these people got a publication out of it. How many news articles have been released with this EXACT idea? I think even SDN had one on their home page.

    And they get a publication for it?
     
  7. Twiigg

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    :laugh: Seriously, I thought this was the exact same article that showed up here a couple weeks back. Turns out it just makes the exact same point.
     
  8. Nemuri

    Nemuri It's too late
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    I already assume any doctor probably hated existance during med school and excessively drank during college. Being a fan of a slashy and fictional horror flick? Are these honestly relevant to becoming a doctor? Sigh
     
  9. 87138

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    I've seen classmates with some pretty ridiculous things up on their facebook page.
     
  10. Slowpoke

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    Don't they have better things to do than snoop on people?

    Who cares.. seriously... doctors are ordinary human beings at the end of the day...
     
  11. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Make sure you duck when that "held to a higher standard" e-lecture comes flying at you
     
  12. Twiigg

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    Still, we don't have complete control of our reputations, or who accesses these profile pages for that matter (despite privacy settings). Any doctor who would like to be perceived as a professional by their patients would be wise to not put up compromising information and pictures.
     
  13. fahimaz7

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    Patients and your residency attendings would care. Hell, even the medical school admissions officers are looking at myspace and facebook for dirt on their applicants.

    We will have to grow up sooner or later...we might as well face that fact and make our profiles a little more reasonable.

    I doubt a patient will ever look you up on facebook. With that said, I don't want faculty, attendings, or prospective employers looking at my profile.

    Ps. the best group that I was in was "I don't have to form a facebook group to get my girlfriend to have a threesome". I'm not a member of that group anymore..

    :)
     
  14. Nemuri

    Nemuri It's too late
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    Congratulations! You have been accepted to the University of XXXXXXXXX College of Medicine! Please disregard the previous statement if you are an avid fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, drank excessively during any point of your undergraduate studies, or believe you should've joined a blacker college.
     
  15. ButImLETired

    ButImLETired Prodigal member
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    I'm with you on this. I'm over 21, and really not the Girls Gone Wild type, but I'm sure some 80-year-old adcom members might frown at some of my pictures. I think it's ridiculous. Going to a bar on a weekend when you're old enough to do so should hardly be something to be judgmental about. I'd rather have a doctor who has a social life and can handle his/her stress than one who bottles it all up and lives in the library. Honestly, it was college! Of course there are some things that you shouldn't put up there (mostly those are the things you shouldn't really be doing in the first place) but the way I see it, if I'm comfortable with my mother seeing the pictures, I hardly think the adcoms should judge me for them.
     
  16. 87138

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    You can have an avid social life without chronicling it in detailed picture form on Facebook to prove you have an avid social life.
     
  17. ButImLETired

    ButImLETired Prodigal member
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    I agree, but part of it is that I don't feel the need to go through my pictures and de-tag every single one that someone might have a problem with. I like going through my friends' pictures and see what they've been up to and they like doing the same. I'm not naive enough to think that detagging is something I don't have to do, I just wish I didn't have to. It's pretty ridiculous. Also, my profile is entirely private to everyone who isn't my friend (for privacy issues) so the adcoms would have to put in quite a bit of effort to find my pictures. If they really care THAT much and really have that kind of time, I wonder at their supposed insane workload. Seriously, I'm not that special or exciting.
     
  18. justdoit31

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    I love my facebook but do have it private- also my personal physician told me about her facebook when I was shadowing and had my help her with setting it up- she has pictures of the family including some of her and her husband on a vacation drinking wine- OMG they are so screwed... jk....

    In all seriousness it doesn't matter that much as long as it is tasteful and stuff. I have found facebook is the easiest way to get into touch with my physician when I have pre-med questions or news about the application to share.
     
  19. Twiigg

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    I just wonder why people would want pictures of themselves intoxicated up on the internet in the first place. You keep your voicemail professional, you should maintain public profiles similarly. And no one should fall into a false sense of security that they can control the information they put on the internet, despite the privacy settings are available.

    Personal interaction with others is a completely different story!
     
  20. goldenwest

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    I've got nothing to hide :thumbup:
     
  21. Twiigg

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    Oh, GW. You have everything to hide. :D

    Fancy seeing you here, btw. It's like seeing someone you know while on vacation!
     
  22. goldenwest

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  23. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    It started with AIM, then myspace and now Facebook. People LOVE to publicize their "social" life and how many friends they have. It's an innate, subconscious desire for acceptability from their peers. We all want to be "cool".

    With saying that, I find it absolutely pathetic that people do this. I only used facebook as a means of keeping contact information of people I knew so that I would never have to ask. Now it's become a gossip corner where everyone is looking at your friend number and your pictures to see what you're doing/how cool you are. I am half expecting a new monologue feature from gossip girl everytime I log on.
     
  24. biophysicianai

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    yea, non-science publications don't have to be original. I'm writing this book about an old man and the sea.

    CHEEEEEL Winstaahn!
     
  25. ButImLETired

    ButImLETired Prodigal member
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    Hahaha is THAT what I'm doing? Well, so glad you're here to tell me that. I'm going to hide in my little corner and count how many friends I have now so I can find self-validation.
     
  26. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    I think that people still believe that their profile is in this "circle" and doesn't exist outside of that "circle".

    Then it pops up on 4chan/7chan and it becomes the most googled picture result under "PWN3D".

    Or "who's awesome, you're awesome"
     
  27. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    I'm not pointing fingers. Speaking from personal experience, so I apologize if that's a harsh over-generalization. I also understand that people post pics that are well-under the extremes I see. But some pictures people "post", makes you wonder WHAT they were thinking when they uploaded it. Facebook is a subpar site with subpar upload features in which you have to manually upload each picture and "tag" it. Even the most average individual should at least see that the picture they're about to tag/put up could have some ramifications.
     
  28. Dissected

    Dissected All bleeding stops eventually
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    If you make your profile private are there still ways for people to access it? Ive been wondering this for quite some time..
     
  29. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    Absolutely. There is no such thing as "private" in the internet. There is always SOMEONE that can access your profile/information. Facebook isn't exactly the most secure site to access/hardest to breach.

    I still remember the days when hotmail was new and password retrieval was done simply by answering your private question, to which most people I knew had some of the simplest questions ever.
    "Where do I live?"
    "What's my sport?"
    "Am I a guy or girl?" (jk)

    But honestly, I couldn't tell you how many hotmail accounts I "hacked" in my highschool just by figuring out their email addresses. I became 100 people over the course of the weekend and had some of the most engaging conversations ever with some people :laugh:

    You can post those pictures if you want, but from going through some of the darkest/weirdest forums/sites on the internet, be forwarned that it can have some of the most devastating/hilarious effects ever.
     
  30. goldenwest

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    You have issues.
     
  31. vokey588

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    Dude that's messed up...
     
  32. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    I hope that it would be common sense at this point to never put anything online that you wouldn't want your employer or co-workers to know. The internet is not anonymous or private. It's a public space.
     
  33. Chemist0157

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    I probably won't "do" Facebook when I'm 30.
     
  34. Twiigg

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    I probably won't "do" Facebook in medical school!
     
  35. goldenwest

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    I probably won't "do" anything that I would regret people knowing about.
     
  36. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Actually, to be published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a project has to be New and it has to be True. New, or novel, means that it hasn't been reported previously in the literature. Many things that get published are testing hypotheses that are generated from what seems like common sense or folk wisdom (do people who consume an apple each day make fewer visits to medical practioners than those who never consume apples?).

    Original means that it is not replicating a previous study. It doesn't take a genius to say, "ya know, people in human resources "google" job applicants and find out all this stuff that you wouldn't want employers to know". Well, duh, that just seems like common sense. The next question is, let's test the hypothesis that most people post "inappropriate" things about themselves on Facebook.

    I think it is rather clever that these investigators did this little study & got it published.

    Would you want to google your surgeon's name & find his facebook page with comments about hangovers, etc?
     
  37. goldenwest

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    I don't understand the hub-bub, bub. I mean, where is the issue here... that people aren't the genuine article or that they do a poor job at hiding it?
     
  38. JaggerPlate

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    Very well put. I get the whole 'doctors are the professionals of the professional world thing,' but at the end of the day, they are just people. It's stupid for any adult to have a myspace/facebook on public with things like that, doctors are no exception, nor are they the rule. It's not like some big lawyer at a firm would be greeted with high fives if immature pictures of him came out ... everyone should be aware, take simple steps -ie removing the ten year old pics from college or simply putting the profile on private - and be fine.
     
  39. goldenwest

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    I disagree with the people are people so that excuses my irresponsible behavior argument.
     
  40. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    Always keep in mind:

    You are the master of what you think.
    You are servant to what you say.
    You are slave to what you write.
     
  41. goldenwest

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    Except in the new century when pretty much everything you say is recorded in some fashion... perhaps in the future that statement won't be true of thinking either :scared:
     
  42. Trismegistus4

    Trismegistus4 Worried Wellologist
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    I didn't join Facebook until after I turned 30!
     
  43. JackInTheBox

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    That's what she said.
     
  44. Chemist0157

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    Heh, I entered Facebook I guess when I was 18 because of "peer pressure." People wouldn't leave me alone until I got a profile, but I hardly EVER check it. It's nice to have a way to talk to friends across the U.S., but man, I'd much rather just call them instead of maintain some online profile!

    For me, it'll probably die when I go to medical school.
     
  45. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    I was well younger and I know how bad that is nowadays. But it just goes to show you how easily your "information" can be obtained. If the Hadron Collider/CERN site can be hacked and their computers all taken over by a hacker, then what does that tell you about the privacy setting on facebook? They're just security blankets fed to people so they feel secure.
     
  46. goldenwest

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    PH33R! :scared:


    Why would any hacker worth his salt want to see the private profile of some loser in Michigan? Unless.... the hacker is an Adcom! :scared:
     
  47. 135892

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    But why would anyone waste their time trying to hack into a private facebook profile? I doubt med schools have a bunch of tech geeks who's sole job is to hack into private facebook accounts...
     
  48. Dissected

    Dissected All bleeding stops eventually
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    yea...thats what I was thinking
     
  49. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    That's not the point. The point is that it's possible and that it's not difficult. Not to mention that if adcoms wanted to see the private profile, they could.
     
  50. Dissected

    Dissected All bleeding stops eventually
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    howww? by hacking?
     

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