Has social media ever doomed a strong applicant in your experiences?

Jan 10, 2015
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Do you know or have seen a strong applicant get rejected due to his posts on FB or instagram?

Would you all recommend we deactivate these accounts during the application cycle, or only should people who have pics of them underage drinking, smoking, etc have trouble with these sites?

Addtn: If so, please elaborate on what the social media user did that sealed their own fate
 
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How exactly does this work? Do you send some lowly intern to scavenge through 6,000 Facebook profiles and have them write up a police report on their findings?
 
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whitemagic

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@FrkyBgStok How would they even know it was him unless he specifically came onto SDN and wrote "Hi I'm X applicant and I got accepted to X School of Medicine and my AAMC ID is 9999999." Seems like it would be unlawful to rescind an application based on inconclusive evidence, no? Also, I thought the moderators wrote that SDN never discloses the identity of any of its members unless specifically issued a subpeona?
 

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Oh i was not aware it was on facebook. From what I understand, his SDN name was very similar to his real name and he posted often in the thread of the school he got accepted to.
 

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How exactly does this work? Do you send some lowly intern to scavenge through 6,000 Facebook profiles and have them write up a police report on their findings?
This has no educational value for an intern and would not qualify as service learning.
 
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I get a kick out of the people who think all applicants should disable their social media for the duration of the cycle. If you don't post idiotic stuff, you're just fine.
Are only racism and illegal things what can destroy your chances, or will merely using words like **ck, b**** (though, infrequently) be enough to see your immaturity and revoke?
 
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Is there a greater chance of admissions monitoring your social media pages or calling your reference contacts from your AMCAS to verify the hours?
 
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Is there a greater chance of admissions monitoring your social media pages or calling your reference contacts from your AMCAS to verify the hours?
It depends, if you have some sort of institutional action for behavior related instances, then social media. If you claim to have 20,000 hours of research, probably reference contacts.

Also, in general, in my opinion you have to try really hard to be really inappropriate on social media. Go by the rule, if grandma wouldn't be proud of it, you probably shouldn't post it.
 

argama

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I feel like a lot of the applicants who change their facebook name during application cycle from like John Doe to like John [insert middle name] or Jon Duh-oh or JD something of that like do it more to draw everyone's attention to their "new name" than to "hide their facebook from adcoms".
 

gonnif

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This is a much larger issue for medical residents in applicant selection with many medical specialty academies and GME (residency) programs issue guidelines and, in some cases, strict agreements on social media use while in a program. The reason for this has been patients and families have started to look up doctors who are treating them. A case then was a 3rd year peds residents was treating a young girl and the next day the parents came in screaming to take that doctor away from my daughter or I will sue. Turned out the parents were freaked about a photo from a drunken frat party taken some 10 years earlier was posted on a social media site with this doctor tagged. (I will find the original case report and add it).

In the meanwhile there have been a slew of studies done on this to the point that AAMC has guidelines for applicants (first in list)
https://www.aamc.org/students/aspiring/324178/socialmediadoesnthurt.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758042/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23139411
http://www.amednews.com/article/20121127/profession/311279999/8/
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731175
http://www.ojphi.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2161/2026
http://jepm.seahq.net/VolXVI_IssueV_McHugh.pdf

Some medical schools have added an internet background search step usually post-interview, per-selection as due diligence to find any obvious issue. With automation and some software this is easy to do

Lastly, I personally know of 3 cases where comments made on here on SDN about a school post-interview were identified by the school and the applicant was not accepted. In many cases it isnt too hard for a medical school to identify with their comments. One of the admission directors at a particular school is doing her doctorate in social media and medical student selection.

So all should assume your comments can be found and all should behave professionally. It doesnt mean hiding but it does mean being an adult
 
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Don't post yourself in compromising pics (and don't let people tag you in them!). :p

I didn't change my name for the cycle because my social media presence actually helps my image. Be smart about it because the personal branding you do today could help you in the future, with so many patients looking up their physicians online. It's wise to have a FB account associated with your real name so people have some sort of info to go of off. Take advantage of it!
 
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Our wily old Admissions Dean does check up on people via Facebook etc. While this hasn't happened at my school AFAIK, acceptees from other schools have have their acceptances rescinded from their antics on facebook.

Look up the thread or post "remember remember the rescindment of November" or something similar. [EDIT: see Make or break's post above for link]

So delete those pics of you toking up or hitting the bong, or with a Dos Equis in your hand when you were 17, or slapping a "heil Hitler" salute with a swastika flag draped on your bed.

These common warnings you see posted above apply to Faculty as well. My school has a social media policy for faculty and my Dean has every right to fire me if I were to do something stupid and unprofessional on SDN or any other media site.

Gonnif's wise advice is worth repeating: "So all should assume your comments can be found and all should behave professionally. It doesn't mean hiding but it does mean being an adult"

Do you know or have seen a strong applicant get rejected due to his posts on FB or instagram?

Would you all recommend we deactivate these accounts during the application cycle, or only should people who have pics of them underage drinking, smoking, etc have trouble with these sites?

Addtn: If so, please elaborate on what the social media user did that sealed their own fate
 
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resiroth

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You can also just set your FB to private... Not that hard, and no one that isn't your "friend" can see anything, even your profile picture.
 
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Yes. There was a student in my BS/MD program who got booted for setting her Facebook profile photo as herself in her shirt and underwear and holding a half empty liquor bottle. The administration felt it reflected poorly on the image of the school and the type of people it was accepting.
:eek:

She didn't know that wasn't a good idea?! How... I don't even.
 

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This thread is exactly why I periodically disappear from SDN for extended periods of time.

I don't know about applicants, but if you ask around, many long-term SDN members have encountered issues (mostly minor, but not always) related to their activity on this board. I myself have been identified in person several times, although I never encountered any problems.
Same. My interactions have been largely benign, but then again, I don't say anything all that horrible on here.
 

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Set FB to private, it's not that hard. With proper privacy settings, adcoms would have to go really, really out of their way to get you in any kind of trouble.
 

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Same. My interactions have been largely benign, but then again, I don't say anything all that horrible on here.
Yup I got recognized too out on interviews. Fortunately, my internet comedy is pure gold so everybody was happy to see me. I felt famous :horns::horns:

Also, my facebook profile is far more interesting and my photos are more attractive than I am in real life. I'd probably get rejected without my internet persona not the other way around.

Is it really that hard to not come off as a total crazy person on social media?
 
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I've realized that whenever someone googles my name, a stripper comes up as the first result. Obviously, none of this is in my control, but could this be a speed bump in my application cycle?
 

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I've realized that whenever someone googles my name, a stripper comes up as the first result. Obviously, none of this is in my control, but could this be a speed bump in my application cycle?
i'm apparently a decently well-known athlete. it's a shame I don't look like the guy.
 

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Is it really that hard to not come off as a total crazy person on social media?
Its not so much you will come off totally crazy but rather one of the below situation:

1) you make disparaging comments about a school. Web crawlers find this stuff and many organizations/institutions have them running. Now cross that with names of short list candidate or pre-matriculation acceptees (again, automated search) and something can pop up thats not good

2) An uncouth, obscene, crude, violent etc picture pops up somewhere on your FB, Twitter, etc. What happens if that is the one that an adcom sees? What if you were pissed when a girlfriend dumps you and you vent using the B-word and put up some violent pic. Means nothing right? what happens if the adcom who sees it had horrible relationship with an ex and that's what they see.

3) In only about half the states it is illegal to ask an employee or student for his/her password for social media accounts. I dont know of any school that does that .they dont, When you get accepted, however, I am sure many schools have some sort of language about conduct, professionalism, following student code, etc. Enough legal vagueness that could used if they wanted to rescind for something.

Again, despite the presumed anonymity, one should be an adult in their posting, etc. This issue will only become more pronounced as you move into your careers
 
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This thread is exactly why I periodically disappear from SDN for extended periods of time.

I don't know about applicants, but if you ask around, many long-term SDN members have encountered issues (mostly minor, but not always) related to their activity on this board. I myself have been identified in person several times, although I never encountered any problems.
Same. My interactions have been largely benign, but then again, I don't say anything all that horrible on here.
Yup I got recognized too out on interviews. Fortunately, my internet comedy is pure gold so everybody was happy to see me. I felt famous :horns::horns:

Also, my facebook profile is far more interesting and my photos are more attractive than I am in real life. I'd probably get rejected without my internet persona not the other way around.

Is it really that hard to not come off as a total crazy person on social media?
Do you guys reveal stats and other info on sdn? Confused as how people id you if you didn't.
 

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But med schools can get Facebook to let them look at your profile!!!

My mom genuinely believed this.
But in half the states still medical school could legally make you show them your facebook as part of any acceptance agreement. Dont you know Mom's know best

Dont forget to wish you Mother a Happy Mother's Day
 
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altblue

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Do you guys reveal stats and other info on sdn? Confused as how people id you if you didn't.
I never understood how could people can do this, like, guess someone's identity.

I know a couple people in real life who browse SDN, but I'd actually be kind of creeped out if someone managed to identify me. Sure, there's enough out there to figure out my UG and, if someone is aquainted with me in real life,, but I think this would speak less of my ability to keep myself hidden and, well, more of them being weird.

That said, I think it's entirely reasonable to not want people seeing my posts, even if I don't post stupid racist/inflammatory stuff. I like to rant about things, and I know this could rub people the wrong way.
 
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Yes. There was a student in my BS/MD program who got booted for setting her Facebook profile photo as herself in her shirt and underwear and holding a half empty liquor bottle. The administration felt it reflected poorly on the image of the school and the type of people it was accepting.
Seriously? Dat judgement.

edit: in reference to her poor judgement, not the school rescinding her acceptance
 

gonnif

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I never understood how could people can do this, like, guess someone's identity.

I know a couple people in real life who browse SDN, but I'd actually be kind of creeped out if someone managed to identify me. Sure, there's enough out there to figure out my UG and, if someone is aquainted with me in real life,, but I think this would speak less of my ability to keep myself hidden and, well, more of them being weird.

That said, I think it's entirely reasonable to not want people seeing my posts, even if I don't post stupid racist/inflammatory stuff. I like to rant about things, and I know this could rub people the wrong way.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has some studies/examples suggesting that essentially 3 pieces of information could identify almost one anyone off the internet (see below). This was further extended to an index (which I dont have the citation for in front of me) that valued certain pieces of information and made the argument that 25 point of value could identify anyone one. Birthday was value at 13 points for example.


https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/01/primer-information-theory-and-privacy
A Primer on Information Theory and Privacy

If we ask whether a fact about a person identifies that person, it turns out that the answer isn't simply yes or no. If all I know about a person is their ZIP code, I don't know who they are. If all I know is their date of birth, I don't know who they are. If all I know is their gender, I don't know who they are. But it turns out that if I know these three things about a person, I could probably deduce their identity! Each of the facts is partially identifying.
 
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I feel like a lot of the applicants who change their facebook name during application cycle from like John Doe to like John [insert middle name] or Jon Duh-oh or JD something of that like do it more to draw everyone's attention to their "new name" than to "hide their facebook from adcoms".
I always think this is funny because tons of the people who do it had their facebook URL automatically set to "firstname.lastname" at some point, so even if their display name is Firstname Middlename they'll still come up in a search for their first and last name just as easily as if they hadn't done anything. And now it looks like they're trying to hide something.
 
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has some studies/examples suggesting that essentially 3 pieces of information could identify almost one anyone off the internet (see below). This was further extended to an index (which I dont have the citation for in front of me) that valued certain pieces of information and made the argument that 25 point of value could identify anyone one. Birthday was value at 13 points for example.

Good thing I'm a shortish-tall [fe]male with light-darkish hair who at one point lived in the USA.

There must be at least 5 others like me in the world somewhere.
 

altblue

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has some studies/examples suggesting that essentially 3 pieces of information could identify almost one anyone off the internet (see below). This was further extended to an index (which I dont have the citation for in front of me) that valued certain pieces of information and made the argument that 25 point of value could identify anyone one. Birthday was value at 13 points for example.


https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/01/primer-information-theory-and-privacy
A Primer on Information Theory and Privacy

If we ask whether a fact about a person identifies that person, it turns out that the answer isn't simply yes or no. If all I know about a person is their ZIP code, I don't know who they are. If all I know is their date of birth, I don't know who they are. If all I know is their gender, I don't know who they are. But it turns out that if I know these three things about a person, I could probably deduce their identity! Each of the facts is partially identifying.
Good post, but I meant that it would just be weird for someone to point out my SDN identity to me. I know it's entirely possible for them to do so, and if anyone knows me reasonably well, they can probably do so. :)
 

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Would having a picture on your facebook of you doing something like pulling a public prank look bad to an adcomm? Would that reflect poorly on your character and cause them to doubt your maturity?
 

gonnif

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Would having a picture on your facebook of you doing something like pulling a public prank look bad to an adcomm? Would that reflect poorly on your character and cause them to doubt your maturity?
The report/study that I saw first on this topic was about 10 years ago was the situation you described above. A 3rd year peds resident was taking care of a little girl. The next day the father came in screaming that he did not want that doctor to touch his little girl again or he would sue and made reference to something on the internet. The 3rd year peds had a pictured posted somewhere tagged with his name from his frat house days, some 5-10 years prior with about 15-20 half naked men/women all holding bottles and I believe giving the finger to the camera. This is why GME programs, specialty societies, academic medical centers, etc all seem to have stated policy on both official social media use as well as private behavior detrimental to the image, professionalism, etc of the institution.

It is very likely that as part of pre-matriculation review of all acceptees, your social media will be "looked at" (mostly automated software). The school would have the power to rescind an acceptance. You legal recourse would be limited as they would likely have a vague enough published policy and the courts give leeway to the "technical" and "professional" opinion of the school in this area.

In other words, I would advise you take the picture down.
 

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I have one story about an applicant and social media but I didn't interview them. I was supposed to host them for a night. Normally I look at the students Facebook page just so I can get an idea of who they are, what they like, where they have been. The school doesn't tell me anything except what the student wrote on their student hosting "application" which is sometimes dreadfully short (1 sentence).

This applicant had their posts locked down but it showed they were attending a public event (a music festival). I looked at the event page just to see what it was and who was playing so we could have something to talk about. I couldn't believe that one of the first post on the page was from the applicant. They asked if police were searching for drugs at the festival and what was the best way to smuggle them in because they had a ton but didn't want to get busted. They posted the message at least five times while waiting for a response since they were on their way to the festival.

I decided to not host the applicant and I don't know if they got in. I emailed the office coordinating the hosting and said something like, "due to their recents posts on social media I do not feel comfortable having this student stay in my house." I never linked anything or mentioned exactly what I saw, nor was I contacted about it.

I guess the moral of the story is even if you have some of your privacy settings up things can still show. And the other thing is don't post to a public page since you can't control those privacy settings.
 
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