Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it

Keeping transparency, especially when it’s personal


???????????????????????????????????????????????I don’t hide the fact that I am the face behind the social media channels for five hospitals and a women’s medicine practice in Rhode Island. On top of that, I have my personal Twitter, Facebook and Google+ where I share personal things, but Twitter is by far my favorite channel.

Twitter is my go-to for everything. It’s how I learned about social media, it’s how I stay up to date on breaking news, and it’s where I can connect with so many people I otherwise wouldn’t meet. Like many people, it’s also the first thing I think of when I want to tout a brand or do a little complaining.

If you’ve read my posts like these in the past, you know I’m all for transparency in social media. So imagine my dilemma when I found myself the family member of a patient at one of my hospitals earlier this year. And when I say “my hospital” I mean one of the hospitals for which I manage the social media.

It was a very scary time for my family, and I’m thrilled and so very thankful to report that in the end everything is just great, but it was touch and go there for a while. So here I was, at the bedside of a loved one in a hospital and wanting to tweet about the care my brother was receiving. If it had been any other hospital, I would have tweeted both the good and bad experiences.

But my dedication to being transparent was giving me a little internal tug of war.  If I tweet, the only one from the hospital who could see it and respond would be me. At the same time, I knew I would be sharing a good experience about the hospital through Twitter that the hospital’s followers would see. So then I would be adding to a positive image of the hospital. But it just felt a little, um, icky. It almost felt a bit unethical… like people would think I was being a little biased in what I was sharing through social media and misrepresenting the hospital. I felt like it was just the wrong thing to do.

So in the end, I chose not to tweet, not because I felt that I couldn’t, but it just ethically didn’t feel right to me. But now I pose the question to you… what would YOU do in that case?


Author: Nancy Jean

I love reading, writing, music, the beach, and being a mom to two rescue dogs. My job is social media for health care.

4 thoughts on “Keeping transparency, especially when it’s personal

  1. I can understand your concerns, Nancy. You could have cured the ethical dilemma by identifying the patient as your brother. But how would he feel about the Twitterverse knowing he was in the hospital and seriously ill at the time?

  2. Could you have done it via your personal Twitter but not me mention the hospital name? That is a tough one 🙂 I’m glad he is okay Nancy!

  3. I totally get this… and also got a chuckle at the line: “If I tweet, the only one from the hospital who could see it and respond would be me.” It reminded me of how schizo I feel when I’m filling in for you but also sharing/retweeting via my personal social stuff. It’s such a fine line. But I would have been just as confused as you were. Times like that you have to *try* to step back and be like any other patient’s family member — how would your brother feel? Could you have tweeted something and been transparent about that hospital being one of yours and how grateful you are to have such wonderful docs and nurses taking care of your family member? Still, tough call. But I am very happy to know that all went well and that he’s doing much better!

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