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Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

In a recent edition of ASDA News, an article was written about the Do’s and Don’ts for a dental student within the realm of social media. This article outlined the importance of maintaining a social media presence, but also warned against various pitfalls that can be overlooked by today’s dental students when interacting with social media outlets. Since we’re sure that most of you maintain a Facebook page, and a few of you may even be avid Twitter addicts, we thought it would be important to outline some of the various Do’s and Don’ts as outlined by ASDA here:

Social Media Do’s 

Keep Some Things Private – not everything you do needs to be shared on a social media outlet. You need to remember that once you hit “Send”, whatever information you are sharing becomes public knowledge. Try to think about whether or not you would want your future patients to see what you are about to send out into the online world before pressing send next time

Be Honest – You never know who might be looking at your profile at any given time. It could be potential employers, residency directors, the dean of your school, or even a clinic patient. Try to keep your information up-to-date, and maintain an accurate reflection of yourself on your social media pages.

Have an Online Identity – In the age of social media, it is important to maintain an online identity. It can help to separate you from the pack, and shows that you are up-to-date and adaptable to new technology. It is always important to stay connected and “in the know” about your future profession and social media provides an easy outlet to do just that.


Social Media Don’ts 

Less May be More (When it Comes to Friends) – Keep in mind that people scanning through your profile can access a lot of information through your friends, and even more if they are friends of your friends. At a glance, having an extravagant amount of contacts could mean one thing or another to an employer, so try to maintain connections with only those people you feel comfortable sharing personal information with.

Don’t Evangelize – Try not to share personal, religious, financial, or political beliefs on social media. They may give away more about your personality that you think, and those that do not know you personally may be offended or taken aback by these views, which could cost you a job, patients, and, ultimately, money in the long run.

Don’t Post Party Pics – Sharing pictures from a party is simpler now than it has ever been. One touch on your phone, and the pictures from Friday night at your friend’s house or at the bar could be all over your social media scene for anyone to see. Think about if the images you are sending out reflect you as a dental professional, or you as a candidate for a job or a residency. You are entering the professional world now, and professionals don’t “Duck Face”.

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Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

07:25 PM | Jan 24,2017
I know that this is an older forum posting, however I believe this information is just as helpful today as it was then and I'll definitely be sharing these tips with my classmates! Today more than ever it's important to be tech-savvy and 'in-the-know' with current technology- if even just to stay relevant! More importantly, social media doesn't only affect us as dental students, but as others have mentioned, as potential residents and of course newly graduated dentists. I do know a lot of students who changed their social media names to aid in preventing programs (I'm assuming) from finding their online pages, and while I understand this I also am a part of the camp that believes you shouldn't post anything online that you are embarrassed of or want hidden. That being said, as one of the tips states 'just be honest' if something does get posted online and you are asked about it, I think it's crucial to own it. As another student mentioned in the comments below, the amount of friends was never something I thought could have an impact. Social media is a great avenue for communication and marketing; I helped developed my school's ASDA chapter and being more involved online with our members helped us significantly improve our participation. In one of our practice management courses, our faculty said that a patient with a wonderful experience might tell 2-3 people, but a patient with a negative experience will tell 50 and in the age of social media, you can begin to imagine the exponential effect that can have on your practice.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

08:50 PM | Dec 15,2016
This is a great list of Do's and Don'ts when it comes to what dental students and even dental professionals should follow in their daily lives. With so many different ways to get connected on social media, students and professionals need to be careful what post or tweet. Something that is also important is what others say about you, your personality, or your office on social media. I have heard stories of patients posting on different social media sites about how an office was "unclean" or the office staff "did not treat me with respect". Their friends and family members see those statements, which could be detrimental to a practice. I try to make sure I follow those Do's and not the Don'ts each time I am on a social media outlet, thanks for sharing for others to see!

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

12:08 PM | Jun 16,2015
I think that this article gives some great advice. As a dental student who loves to use Facebook and other social media websites I am constantly making decisions about what is and what is not appropriate to post. I think one more thing to consider which was not covered in this article is that discussions need to be had with close friends, etc. that also have social media accounts about what is or is not appropriate to tag you in. Sometimes my friends post things to my wall becasue they think they are funny or that it may interest me but they do so without considering the fact that I need to maintain a professional image on social media. Overall, I think that this article hits home for a lot of dental students.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

05:38 PM | Apr 30,2015
These tips are definitely worth any student’s attention. Social media has become a new and powerful vehicle of expression, a window into our identity. As social media has become important in our communication with our colleagues, family and peers and an outlet for ideas and discussion, we as students must be cognizant of how our posts and online behavior is interpreted. As dangerous as social media can be, do not fail to recognize that it is an extremely powerful tool. After finding a balance between what is appropriate and personal, and keeping privacy and legal concerns in mind, social media can be used to build an organic connection with consumers. As many of our patients are active online, Facebook can be used as an effective marketing strategy. Social media can help you to… 1. Share news, advice and your health care expertise online to help you relay and reinforce the message you’re trying to send to your patients 2. Facilitate discussion of important topics pertaining to preventative medicine and treatment plans 3. Address particular needs and concerns of your patients 4. Build trust and credibility by increasing your interaction with patients

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

08:09 PM | Mar 03,2015
This topic is so important in today's fast-pace social media driven society. Any company interviewing potential employees without checking Facebook or Twitter accounts is doing itself a disservice. You can learn so much about someone and who they really are through their online identity. Unfortunately for some, nowadays first impressions happen before any physical contact occurs. It is so important to keep photos and comments respectable, even more so as student doctors and future community leaders. Trust usually takes a long time to build but it can be immediately broken through inappropriate social media posts. With all this being said, I think it’s appropriate and even necessary to post things that help express who you are, as long as it’s done with respect for others. Social media can be used as a powerful tool for rapid news, networking, and updated dental and health related information. As with any powerful thing it must be used with responsibility.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

08:16 AM | Dec 06,2014
As a 3rd year dental student, I am approaching that moment where applying to residency will consume my mind. Just this week in school, some friends and I were discussing whether we will change our name on Facebook when we apply to make our social media pages more difficult to find. I think that these tips offer great insight into what we can all do to be smart on social media. If there is one tip that I can offer myself, it is be careful what you "like" on Facebook. While this article gave some great advice of not posting religious, financial, or political beliefs, the same goes for liking other people's posts about these topics. It will still show up on friends newsfeed that you liked it which is not much different than posting it yourself. Another tip I have is to start limiting the amount of friends or followers you have. When we were in college, having a lot of friends on Facebook was exciting! Now it just means there are more people in this world who can see what you are doing on a regular basis. Finally, maintain your privacy. Some of the other commenters have already hit on this point but if you are not comfortable with faculty, patients, and others seeing your social media page, make sure your privacy settings reflect that. There have been times that I have found my faculty's Facebook pages and looked through them. What I am realizing is that if I could find their pages, they could just as easily find mine. Therefore, having privacy being set at a level that makes you comfortable is crucial.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

04:46 PM | Dec 02,2014
This topic is very important because Social Media is such a huge part of today's culture. Social media is not only used to contact friends and family who are distant but it is used to organize events, form groups and advertise businesses. It is almost impossible to not use social media these days but as professionals we must know what we should and shouldn't post. These tips from ASDA are essential and will hold true throughout dental school and your whole career. Key things to consider is who is going to see the pictures and if it is something that shows you in a negative or compromising light, do you want it up ? So when taking pictures while I am out, I am always conscious of who is taking the picture, where they will post them and if they will filter what is appropriate or not. So I just try my hardest to make sure I never take a picture I wouldn't want important people to see. It goes beyond people looking at your page, it could potentially be about your future. One tip that I never even considered was the amount of friends you have as being seen a certain way. I have had my Facebook for over 6 years now and I have accumulated over 1000 friends and never thought about how people may see that. Definitely something to consider.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

09:14 PM | Sep 29,2014
Growing up in today's world, social media becomes a part of your daily life. We are always on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., especially since most people have smart phones which allow us to view these sites quickly and easily. However, although social media is a big part of our lives, we need to be careful how much of our life we put on these social medias. I agree with all of the Do's and Don'ts listed above, but would like to put more emphasis on the privacy aspect. Not only should you monitor what you post on these sites, but you should also monitor your privacy settings on all of these sites. Double check and make sure that only your "friends" or "followers" can view your posts. Also, go through your friend list and clean it out every once in a while. Make sure you know all of your Facebook friends and you are comfortable with the idea that they can see your posts. If you keep up-to-date on your privacy settings and monitor what you post, then social media can be your friend rather than your foe.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

11:33 AM | Sep 29,2014
I have found social media can have a both positive as well as negative benefits to professional students. It is very important to be cognizant of what type of information one is posting on social media. I have seen many students post patient photographs on their social media pages showing the work they have done. While its one thing to be proud of the work students accomplish, it is also a significant HIPAA violation which could permanently damage someone's career. More so, I also have seen many of my dental school peers post inappropriate pictures of partying or using profanity, which does not support someone pursuing a professional career as a doctor. It is true that often times professors, employers, patients, or other professional contacts will search students on social media outlets and use this to base an opinion on a students level of professionalism. I personally had an employer tell me that prior to hiring me, they searched me on social media to make sure I didn't have any inappropriate posts. This forum also highlights the importance of not posting things with religious, financial, or political connotations. This is also important because as health care professionals it is important for us to maintain a level of transparency so patients feel comfortable coming to us no matter what kind of background they come from. On the positive side of social media it can be a great networking and marketing source as long as information is kept professional and appropriate. Once something has been posted to social media it will always be there in some form, so it is important to be aware of what is being posted.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

04:39 PM | Sep 28,2014
I think this is a topic many dental students struggle with today. In a generation that relies heavily on social media, as professional students it may be difficult to master that fine line between the do's and the don'ts. Recently, my colleagues and I were reminded about the do's and don'ts of social media when it pertains to patients. Many of us are now entering the world of clinics, which brings excitement and pride in our first experiences of extractions or restorations on live patients. It might be exciting to share these endeavors with friends and family on social media via pictures of extracted teeth or an FMX we took; however, this is a big no no. HIPAA is no joke and social media is not an exception. It is important to remember this. I know some students may argue that taking photos without any identifiers may be feasible; however, it is best to avoid these situations to err on the safe side. Thus, not only is it important to precede with caution when posting personal information on social media, but posts regarding patients should be avoided too. Just a little tip to keep everyone on the safe side of social media!

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

10:49 PM | Sep 15,2014
Yes! I am actually serving as one of the editors for ASDA's publications, and I liked this pub in particular because it is related to so many of us in dental school who have some sort of online presence. I believe it is a tough transition between when your friends in dental school turn into your colleagues in the dental professional world. Also, I personally don't really add professors as friends on facebook, but then again I have plenty of friends who request all of their professors. Also, it's interesting how so many of my friends change their names when residency application time comes around. That way residency programs can't search them, I suppose. I think we should be thinking about posting only what is appropriate rather than trying to hide what is already online. It's always a good idea to do a check on yourself, on your facebook, on google, etc to see what the internet world really sees about you. I really enjoyed reading this post from April, 2014 which touches on similar notes. If you like this hot topic, you should check it out here: http://www.asdablog.com/your-online-reputation-as-a-future-dentist/

Do’s and Don’ts for the Social Media Savvy Dental Student

08:56 AM | Aug 27,2013
Great tips. A lot of people don't think about what kind of message their social media profiles can send to potential employers.