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?