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SoMe Guidelines in Urology: #urojc August 2014 summary

The August 2014 twitter-based international urology journal club (#urojc) took an introspective look at the newly published European Association of Urology recommendations on the appropriate use of social media.

This month’s article hit close to home as a panel of international urologists (many who are active on Twitter and #urojc) attempted to bring social media (SoMe) to the general public of urologists with some basic guidelines on effective, safe and honest communication. The article described the various social networks frequently used by physicians, highlighted some benefits of SoMe involvement, and pointed out the possible risks of SoMe. Recommendation statements emphasized clear, confidentiality, refraining from self-promotion, limits on patient-physician interaction and caution in engaging in SoMe.

From the start, it was evident that this was not a fluff piece and there was discussion to be had:


@CBayneMD started it off with concern about the recommendation to keep personal and professional content separate. Many argued that adding something personal kept the communication more interesting and reminded readers that behind the online persona is a person.


Good arguments were made on both sides. Using different SoMe outlets for personal and professional posts may make it easier to keep it appropriate.


The guideline section on refraining from self-promotion was generally well accepted, though some clarification was called for.


Another criticism was of the group of EAU panelists chosen to write the guideline. An excellent choice was made to include the twitter handles of the guidelines authors in the byline.


Several of the authors are undoubtedly SoMe experts.


@wandering_gu, one of the authors, defended the decision to include authors with varied levels of SoMe experience.

A common twitter disclaimer, amongst physicians, “RT (retweets) are not E (endorsements)” may or may not be worth much.

…but may be necessary, nonetheless.

@Dr_RPM summarizes the message of this guideline document.

Whether or not you agree with the EAU SoMe guidelines or the previously published BJUI SoMe Guidelines, it’s clear that SoMe in medicine, and especially urology, is an important part of the future. We should all continue to be thoughtful in our involvement with SoMe and encourage our friends and colleagues to participate. Thank you all for another exciting discussion. Make sure to keep an eye on @iurojc and #urojc for next month’s International Urology Journal Club!


Parth K. Modi is a PGY-4 urology resident at Rutgers-RWJMS in New Brunswick, NJ. He has an interest in urologic oncology, robotics and bioethics and tweets @marthpodi.


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