Social media in your practice: friend or foe?

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Has anyone noticed how social media and online review sites keep popping up in dental news every few months? I remember when ASDA Contributing Editor Matthew Ronconi (UCLA ’12) wrote an editorial about Yelp. His mentor had received fabulous reviews, except for one. It irked him that one bad review, regardless of the truth or basis for its claims, could tarnish his dentist’s reputation. You can download the September 2010 issue of ASDA News to read Matthew’s article.

In retrospect, Matthew was only forecasting the stories that are hitting the news today. Dr. Bicuspid just published this article on a dentist being sued for asking patients to agree to not post negative reviews about her before she treated them. And that’s just the latest. Earlier this year, Dr. Bicuspid reported on this Yelp case where the dentist filed a defamation suit and had to pay $80K in attorney fees in the end. And finally, the first Yelp case that I remember hearing about was reported back in 2009.

All this to say BE CAREFUL when it comes to social media and your future practice. You know how to use it, but the trick is to be smart about using social media. And (duh) don’t try to censor people. It never ends well.

Mouthing Off has covered the social media bit quite well. Being a blog, it’s only right that we keep track. I had a tinge of nostalgia as I dug up these posts. I want to give a broad and fair perspective of how social media can be used to benefit you and how it can be used against you. Here are a few MO posts that could help round out your idea of dentistry and social media:

In June of this year, we looked at the ADA’s thoughts on the issue in Dentisty + Social Media = Love?
And in May we looked to the medical doctors for advice in Social Media and Professionalism
One of my personal favorite blog posts that I’ve authored was a year ago when “The Social Network” hit theaters. Read my review and general Facebook ponderings in Does Facebook Have a Soul?

Let’s talk some more about this. Do you have a Facebook page for your practice? Do you plan on it? Are you going to “friend” your patients? And what do you make of someone reviewing you on Yelp? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

~Kim Schneider, communications editor

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