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Tuesday, July 29th 2008

Scalpel, Beer

There has been considerable discussion about the internet, social media, privacy and how all of this will effect people in my generation and younger when they go out into the real world. The plethora of personal information being made available online, and not all of it shining on the virtue of the individual exposed, is going to come back and bite my generation in the behind. And especially for professionals. Say future physicians. Or so the thinking goes.

My school actually sent out an email with a link to a wire piece covering this study.

Their study found almost half of medical students had Facebook pages, but only 37 percent of those students limited viewership to friends.

Most of the pages provided lifestyle details, including sexual orientation, dating relationships and political opinions.

One group was titled, “I’m a doctor and I hope my patients don’t see me on Facebook.”

Personally I think the risk is overstated. That doesn’t stop me from being a little cautious and just using common sense about what I post online (although I do have this, sometimes, inflammatory blog). Still, to imagine this is going to cost a good group of medical students career options is over the top. When everyone does it, how are you going to critique on it? There will continue to be anecdotal stories about residency programs or employers or schools rifling through applicants’ online social profiles, at least for the next decade, and you’d hate to be that one in a thousand but those are the kind’ve odds. Facebook, MySpace, other social websites are never going to rise up and swallow my generation.

The way the warnings go out you imagine that no one my age will ever become President: Twenty years from now, we’ll go straight from an 80-year-old Hillary Clinton to a 35-year-old kid in the generation behind me who was warned by University of Florida researchers, just in time, not to post anything on Facebook.