We need to ensure the message we communicate online as professionals stays PROFESSIONAL.
The other night I sent a tweet on Twitter inviting ChiropracticPR followers to read our new article on Ezinearticles.com. Unfortunately, in my rush I mistyped it “ezinearticels.com.” Granted, it’s not a huge mistake but it still doesn’t look so great coming from a site that offers Chiropractic article writing and other content creation services.
Although a minor typo is really nothing to lose sleep over, I still take it seriously. Whether or not we like it: our blog posts, facebook updates, tweets, and other contributions on the internet are all a direct reflection of us. This got me thinking about another very serious problem present in the world of social media and social networking: mixing personal life and business life.
Your accountant will tell you to not mix personal accounts and business accounts. The same advice could, and often SHOULD, be applied to the world of Chiropractic social media and internet marketing.
Many younger Doctors tend to mix their personal and professional life together on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Although this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it often is. I network and interact with hundreds to thousands of Chiropractors and other professionals on a daily basis via the internet. I am often shocked to see some of the posts I come across from professional accounts Doctors use to promote their practices and services.
Very frequently I come across inappropriate jokes, sexual innuendos, nasty remarks, bragging about the crazy party last night, openly bashing the medical professionals and . . . well . . . you get the idea. Now I’m no prude, but we all need to remember how public most of our internet and social media use actually is. The majority of the time everyone can see what we post and what others post about us.
We are all human. As Doctors of Chiropractic we may say, or sometimes do, things in our personal life we would never dream of saying or doing within our practice. Most of us would never dream of standing in the crowded reception area of our Chiropractic practice while using foul language or trading raunchy jokes with our buddies. Yet many of us do this very same thing on a daily basis on social media sites. Ethics and common sense should apply to the virtual world just as they would to real life.
The bottom line is there is a time and place for everything. We all need to realize when we post something online we are representing our professional identity and the Chiropractic profession as a whole. We should never jeopardize our professional reputation by posting questionable content online.
Mixing a little personal life in with your professional identity on the internet is not always a bad thing. Letting patients know a little about your family life and outside hobbies is a great way to establish trust and credibility. For instance, posting pictures of your children or the family pet, or a little information about that recent weekend family vacation are all perfectly acceptable and beneficial posts. The key is to spend a moment before you post and ask yourself what crosses the line.
Perhaps the most perplexing part of this whole dilemma for me is how easy it is to prevent the posting of unflattering content in the first place. If you wouldn’t want to stand up in a crowded theater, or in church on Sunday, and say it…don’t post it online! The easiest thing to do is use a little common sense and discretion. Like Thumper was always told, “If you can’t say something nice . . . don’t say nothing at all!”
The second easiest way to prevent things is to create separate social media accounts for your professional and personal lives. Keep your personal accounts private and only let your known friends and acquaintances read and follow your posts and updates.
One of the most wonderful aspects of social media and the internet is it let’s our personality show through. Things don’t always have to be stuffy and boring, but when we are representing ourselves in a professional capacity, we need to maintain a certain degree of professionalism. After all, would you kiss your mother with that mouth?