Reconnecting Practicing Hygienists with the Nation's Leading Educators and Researchers.

Social Media Etiquette

Online interaction via social media has become a part of everyday life. We think nothing of sharing our personal triumphs and heartaches with with throngs of people we may hardly know on Facebook—and then wait for that all-important “like.”

Online interaction via social media has become a part of everyday life. We think nothing of sharing our personal triumphs and heartaches with throngs of people we may hardly know on Facebook—and then wait for that all-important “like.” We feel compelled to “tweet” a 140-word message on Twitter or post a video on Instagram, hoping that our message will be shared or double tapped. And even though sharing these personal moments is overt, there’s a certain anonymity associated with social media. Sure, people may know our screen name, but we’re not up close and in person. Because we share thoughts from a mysterious cloud, we tend to feel invulnerable. Some users think it’s fine to call out individuals or even disrespect them, posting remarks that would never be said face-to-face.

Don’t get me wrong—I use social media a great deal. I’m thrilled to be able to connect with long-lost high school and college friends. I love seeing pictures of family members who live in other parts of the country. And I enjoy sharing parts of my life, as well. But I’m also aware that whatever I post online will live there for everyone to see. When I read what others post, I sometimes wonder if they realize the breadth of their reach. Also, I wonder if they would be so eager to share such intimate thoughts face-to-face vs from behind a computer screen. The adoption of social media seems to have also brought a loss of social graces. We’ve all heard stories of individuals losing their jobs because of reckless Facebook or Twitter posts, as well as the devastating consequences of cyber bullying.

There are many resources on social media etiquette, and I recently found one that’s to the point and applicable for every age and profession: “SocialMedia Etiquette: 12-Step Checklist” published by Forbes Magazine.1 While all 12 questions on the checklist are spot on, two really resonated with me and speak to our roles as dental hygiene professionals:

  1. Will I be OK with absolutely anyone seeing this?
  2. Is this really something I want to share, or is it just me venting?

The bottom line is that using social media can be either productive or destructive. As the old adage goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In today’s world, that pen is a keyboard. Use it wisely.

REFERENCE

  1. Pozin I. Social media etiquette: 12-step checklist. Forbes Magazine. Available at: forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2013/01/09/social-media-etiquette-12-step-checklist. Accessed July 20, 2015.

Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Editor in Chief
[email protected]


From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. August 2015;13(8):10.

 

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