• The Top 5 Pros and Cons about Social Media and Online Networking Groups

    In the age of social media and digital information, it’s no surprise that in recent years individuals all over the world have strayed away from one-on-one contact and relied solely on internet platforms to engage in communication. However, whilst our careers as practice managers are based on human interaction, we still rely on social media and online networking groups for a range of benefits – both individually and collectively as clinic professionals.

    I love interacting with people. It’s one of the reasons I became a practice manager. And I know that putting yourself out there on the world wide web can be a scary, if not daunting, experience. Questions are always raised, like ‘Will my information remain private?’ or ‘Will I be taken seriously enough?’.

    Whether we like it or not, the internet is here to stay and I want you, as a medical practice manager, to make an informed choice about whether or not you want to move forward with social media interaction and online networking groups.

    Here are my top 5 pros and cons to getting on the bandwagon, so let’s get right to it.

    Pros of Social Media and Online Networking Groups

    • Gaining New Knowledge Joining an online networking group of like-minded individuals or getting onto social media provides you with access to valuable advice and knowledge. Having a group of experienced practice managers to speak to is invaluable. It’s great to have a system of peers who you can turn to for discussion and advice.
    • Save Time You’re able to reach other practice managers from anywhere in the world via your own computer, utilising the internet to attend online forums and workshops – all from the comfort of your own home or the medical practice.
    • Anonymous Posting and Commenting If you so choose, you can post anonymously in social media or join online forums under a pseudonym. For some people this is a benefit, however if you’re keen to gain professional connections that will prove beneficial for your career being yourself is key.
    • Raising Your Profile Which brings me to this point. Raising your personal profile and establishing yourself as a leader in your practice management field is one of the most important benefits of online networking and joining social media. Whilst interacting with others through comments and various discussion, you’re setting yourself up as an expert.

    Cons of Social Media and Online Networking Groups

    • Cyberbulling Use of social networks may expose you to forms of harassment and inappropriate contact, including nameless people who ‘troll’ genuine online users on purpose. Unlike traditional bullying, it’s not limited to physical interaction.
    • Second Guessing Yourself Unfortunately, many sites online that get shared through social media platforms and networking groups provide false information or ‘fake news’ as we now know it. These outlets generate interest or controversy over a product or service that can be based entirely on fake information, which can certainly make you second guess your own intellect and knowledge background.
    • Risks of Identity Theft I’m just going to answer flat out honestly here. Yes, the information you post on the internet is available to almost anyone clever enough to access it. If online thieves successfully steal your identity, it could possibly cost you dearly. However, keeping your privacy settings on all your accounts as high as possible and being wary of exactly what information you share about your life is key to not falling victim.
    • Becoming Lazy There’s a temptation to just follow the crowd here and do the same as what others are doing, including copying work such as practice templates and word-for-word articles. You also risk the opposite – putting your hard work into sharing products or ideas from your clinic only to find others are taking advantage and using them without permission.
    • Differing Opinions Comments on social media and online platforms are more blunt than they would be during face-to-face moments. People hide behind their keyboards, and can become more aggressive as well as less social.

    Make your experience online as good as you want it. Take responsibility for your own safety and never join a group just because it’s trendy or all the other people around you are doing it. It’s a big world out there in the internet, but despite the possible pitfalls, there are numerous advantages to joining online networking groups and social media. It’s up to you, as a practice manager, to make an informed choice on whether it will benefit you or not.

    I’d love to hear what platforms you enjoy being a part of, or if you’re not a part of any – why not? Get in touch with me here or through any of my social media channels!

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