Like any other communication tools, social media (SoMe) have its benefits but pitfalls and risks await the careless and inexperienced user. Caution, therefore, should be exercised especially by users who are networking in a professional setting.
“Learn some safety rules and don’t expose yourself to risks, “ said European Urology chief editor Jim Catto (GB) during a presentation on social media in Thematic Session 19 (Managing Bladder Cancer) held on the third day of the EAU 30th Anniversary Congress. Catto and Stacy Loeb (USA) presented the benefits such as keeping up with breaking news in medicine, getting in touch with colleagues, finding information on research outcomes or getting black-label updates on drugs-to name a few-andall on real time.
Loeb was particularly enthusiastic of the potentialsof SoME, enumerating a long list of possibilities that a urologist can benefit from.
“Social media is useful for major news, research updates, conference participants, education, advocacy, networking, crowd-sourcing and advertising,” said Loeb . She, however, also reminded inexperienced users to first review professional recommendations on SoMe prior to active use.
Catto cited several incidents in Twitter when careless users were publicly shamed, fired from their jobs or even face legal cases due to inappropriate behavior or disparaging comments.
He recommended users to read the SoMe guidelines of medical associations and journals such as the British Journal of Urology International, the American Association of Urology and the EAU, which all issued specific recommendations on social media conduct.
“Establish a digital professional identity that is in line with your professional practice and goals, “ said Catto, citing EAU guidance on SoMe. “Be clear that you are representing yourself and not your institution or professional body.”