I would say this article falls in the "unenthusiastic about the future" category.
The author led off with the University of Florida study as a sort of example of unprofessional behavior online, and within it, cited that 50% of students shared their sexual orientation online, (as did the UF researchers, albeit in a different order than this author did, relative to other “personal information items” such as relationship status or political views).
In 2009, what’s unprofessional about sharing one’s sexual orientation (and why was it ever deemed unprofessional)?
Don’t many “traditional” physician profiles indicate marital and family status, and isn’t this sharing of a person’s sexual orientation, for those who are legally allowed to be married?
The writer’s approach seems to harken back to a different era, where “being professional” was thought of differently, based on who a person “was” (where they went to school, demographics, etc.) rather than how they behaved. Perhaps this is because there was so little information to base this judgement on.
This is why I believe social media has the potential to change the definition of what “being professional” is, in a positive way.
Just after reading this article, I came across this comment from Jay Parkinson, MD’s blog:
You shouldn’t have a resume or a CV. You should have a blog with an “About Me” section that yaps about all the things you’ve done to get where you are with full acknowledgement that most of your education, experience, and awards are worth nothing if they’re not backed by consistently interesting thoughts.
And this should be a requirement for graduating high school.
I agree with Jay. When a person’s behavior is as transparent as their given credentials, they’ll have the opportunity to show how they work to perform better for the people they serve every day.
One more thing – As I have observed many health professionals transition to communicating in an electronic world within health care systems, I have seen that they carry their caring and skill with them into new environments, as any professional would. An article about social media and professionalism should include this reality at its core.
Thanks to the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation for joining Twitter and raising discussion about this topic!