Unrelated Threads Could Destroy Reputations – With Consequences
Social media is becoming an important tool in people’s lives but we should be aware of what we say, when we say it, and how we say it. We should also be careful that unconnected threads aren’t connected by others to reveal sensitive information. A recent article from the AMA advised doctors on how they should approach social media, particularly when it came to social interaction with patients. The Australian AMA has gone a step further and advised doctors about the content of their discussions.
The Australian AMA points out the problems of seemingly unrelated discussions or comments and how they could be connected to reveal sensitive information. To quote from their article:
…..it’s the comments you made a month ago saying which hospital you work at, two weeks ago saying which ward you work in and then the comment from today about the adverse outcome for a patient you treated,” Dr Bonning said.
“When you stack those three things up together it’s suddenly very easy to identify who the patient was.”
It is very easy to make a disparaging remark about your competition, without naming them, and then to make other comments at other times which, when connected, make it quite obvious who you are disparaging. In our litigious society, this is an issue just waiting for a test case, and if it’s successful, a flood of follow-up cases.
You have a number of choices. You either track closely everything you and your employees say, or you take a great deal of care when disparaging others. The same is true when it comes to sensitive information. As with the doctors in the above quote, what seems like harmless comments today could become online reputation management busters tomorrow. While it’s smart to track what everyone else is saying, don’t forget to track your own conversations.
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