Social media can be friend or foe – it can also be hilarious.
The story goes that if you put enough monkeys in front of enough typewriters, they’ll eventually recreate the works of Shakespeare. The literary bar has been lowered to the point now that even a couple of alcoholically inconvenienced armadillos staggering over a keyboard could punch out a 140-character tweet.
Words are sensitive yet powerful things.
When the capacity to splatter them willy-nilly over the universe is given to the wrong people, the result, as we so often see, is offence, uproar and funding cuts to the ABC.
If people were forced to at least spell their profanities correctly before being able to post them, it would reduce the total number of daily tweets from the current 500 million down to around 120 and elevate the level of debate exponentially.
Currently a pot plant with an attitude problem could be regarded as a shining beacon of intellectual reason.
Of course, social media can be a great tool for business, but, like a recipe for Fugu fish pie, it should be used with care and ideally, some knowledge.
As medical professionals, tools like Twitter are something you might consider using to boost your profile.
The problem, of course, is those niggles around patient confidentiality.Someone’s been busy in Smith Street! #STD #KeepItInYourPants
People love anything visual, so Instagram is flavour of the month and it may be tempting to share a photo of anything particularly interesting you’ve examined recently.
While this would certainly add some pep to the usual fare of selfies or breakfast dishes, even the most remarkable rash is unlikely to challenge the popularity of stars like Taylor Swift. On the other hand, it could give Susan Boyle a run for her money.
Social media can also be fiddly and time consuming when you’re trying to get the hang of it, so should you decide to immortalise your exquisite stitching skills on Pinterest, remember to let the anaesthetist know beforehand, lest your canvas wakes up while you’re still trying to remember your log in.
Bear in mind too that theatre lighting can be seriously unflattering when you’re taking a selfie with a trophy tumour you’ve wrestled from a reluctant host, so there is a plethora of other apps you can get to reduce those pink tones.
Facebook remains ever popular for businesses and individuals alike, but the Medical Board considers it poor form to post photos of your full waiting room.
There may also be a certain reluctance on the part of your customers to ‘like’ your page, particularly if you specialise in issues related to incontinence, sexual dysfunction or anything illuminating lifestyle choices their wife doesn’t know about.
On the other hand, it’s clear that people have little reticence when it comes to sharing their opinions, and the absence of a clue is no obstacle to this.
So you can still expect to receive pithy, if misspelled reviews of the work to which you have devoted your adult life, from someone who found two minutes to Google their own diagnosis while watching porn.