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Ethics, social media

Should medical professionals blog and tweet anonymously? Post and poll.

There has been a lot of controversy about anonymous medical blogs/tweets lately and I’m genuinely interested what people think. In addition, the folks at Google have jumped into the general anonymous discussion with both feet as they are not allowing anonymous accounts on G+ (which, by the way, I find too clumsy and time consuming, matching everyone into circles is like a bizarre kid’s card game and the mobile platform is clearly powered by an ancient hamster too tired to turn the wheel).

Some people think anonymous medical bloggers/tweeters use their anonymity to go too far, others think pushing the envelope makes us take a step back and really think.

But is anonymous always bad?

What if you want to write a post or tweet about being an abortion provider? I think we could all understand how that person might want to remain anonymous. Would that content have no merit just because the source chose to remain anonymous?

What if a medical professional wanted to post about their own medical condition, surely offering teaching points for many. Not everyone is as open as I am and wants to splay their medical struggles in a book or splash in on post after post. Does talking about the horrible raw feelings of seeing your baby in the NICU have less merit if you are a doctor and post about it anonymously?

What if you disagree with your University/employer/hospital? Some hospitals refuse to allow VBACs. What if you are an OB at one of those hospitals and believe that is wrong position to take (it is, by the way) and want to post and tweet about it, but are worried you could lose your privileges?

I chose to blog and tweet in the open. I am known outside the virtual world for saying exactly what I think and not having a modicum of shyness. I blog and tweet the same way, although I do think about things before I open my mouth or whip out the keyboard. However, at the end of the day I am OK with anything I say being splashed on a 30 feet billboard (as long as they airbrush any accompanying picture!). However, I’m also not afraid of anyone. I was always bold, but trust me, once you lose a child there is nothing anyone can do to hurt you.

But that’s me.

Is it wrong to want to contribute and be heard, but to also be more comfortable behind a curtain?

Is it wrong to point an acrid finger now and then? Can the hyperbole of the anonymous be a valid teaching tool?

Is there a place for anonymous blogging and tweeting in medicine or is it never, ever okay?

What do you think?

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “Should medical professionals blog and tweet anonymously? Post and poll.

  1. To be absolutely precise, I’m voting for pseudonymous posting, rather than anonymous, untraceable posting. There are countries where medics aren’t allowed to “advertise” at all, and this would almost certainly include blogging under your real name.

    Posted by anarchicteapot | July 28, 2011, 5:37 pm
  2. Anonymity affords the free expression of ideas without undue focus on the messenger. Why not just get ideas out there, arguments, and documented facts/information whenever possible. Words can speak for themselves.

    Posted by ThinkinOutLoud | July 28, 2011, 7:36 pm
  3. Hi im Christina, I’m a 22yr White Female and has recently given birth 7 months ago via C-Section, 2 wks post partum i developed a geen/yellow discharge and have an ongoing UTI “feeling” in my Bladder, I always feel pressure after i urinate. Originally i was on medicaid and my OB had issued me both keflex and macorbid ( nither has worked) he tested numerous times for STD/ Infection nothing was + then he sent me to urology since my constant pain after urinating. So when Urology did a scope they saw a MAJOR bulge into the left side of the bladder wall and sd it may be my ovary…also he did a cystoscopy b/c he found a “low-grade papillaria neoplasm” which was unexpected. and sent me back to the OB where he did and ultrasound and sd that I would need exploratory surgery, That week I lost my insurence, I have then been on metronidazale, Rocephin, cypro, bactrim, zithromax/ azithromicin and an anti fungal vaginal cream all to be left in the same spot im in now with no real answers…is there anyway you can help me? Im in louisiana, but I need help!!!

    Thanks,
    Christina

    Posted by maitland | July 29, 2011, 3:57 am

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