Comma and I just listened to my buddy Craig Button (@CraigCCRNCEN) being interviewed on Jamie Davis's excellent podcast The Nursing Show. It was billed as a response to Brittney Wilson's interview, but neither she nor her book was mentioned. His segment starts at around 11:20 in the episode. Craig's main point was that nurses are not making good use of social media, and I agree with him.
The rest of this post expands on what I got from the podcast, so, sharp detour now.
Brittney was understandably upset at my review of her book (I read it after I listened to her interview with Jamie). We had a personal conversation that ended with me, so I don't know what she thought of my response, but despite my negative review of her book, I believe that my relationship with her is actually a good example of how social media should work. We have had disagreements, but we have discussed them, and I don't know about Brittney, but I have made changes on the basis of what she has said. I am trying to clean up my language because she's right: it looks bad. I'm trying ads on my blog because she's right: why not?
This ties in to Craig's interview because he says nurses have dropped the ball with social media. Physicians ("the docs") are using it productively, whereas we are not using it to full potential. I refer to my own interactions with Brittney to show that I think this is an example of good use of social media. In real life we do not have adoring "yay, you!" fan groups, and neither should we online.
We should be able to criticize, suggest, and educate each other and set our egos aside in the interest of professional and personal growth and change. Instead, and here I remove my focus from Brittney, nurses tend to take everything personally and fly off the handle with knee-jerk reactions. We need to stop that so we can progress with our individual and collective presence.
An example of this occurred with Katie Duke (@TheKatieduke) and Craig on Twitter a few weeks ago. Katie posted a photo of herself at, I believe, a wedding wearing a little black dress. Craig queried how this was different from the behavior Katie was criticizing from the TV nurses on the MTV show "Scrubbing In."
All hell broke loose.
Katie assumed it was an attack, and her "yay, you" fan club leaped to her defense, attacking Craig. It was pretty bad. There was name-calling. I believe that his sexuality was presumed on the basis of the fact that he has cats. I eventually entered the fray to point out that I thought he was really just trying to start a productive discussion, and I was told to suck someone's dick.
No wonder nurses lag physicians in productive use of social media. This fan club mentality is counterproductive. I understand that people like Brittney and Katie are really in to "branding," and who doesn't like to be liked and be popular? I don't begrudge them that. I do think that it is beneath them to stir their lemmings into a fury and direct them to attack. Katie says she wants to be a positive professional example, and I commend her for that. I don't see it on her timeline. She used social media to retweet all of the attacks on Craig, even the obscene ones, and never even asked him whether he meant to attack her or engaged him in a discussion.
What should have happened? In my opinion, a good use of social media would have included Craig's asking the question, Katie's clarifying whether he meant it seriously, and, on finding that he did, beginning a real discussion about the topic.
It deserved one. She has a right to post selfies when she's off the clock partying at a wedding. The underlying topic is one that affects all nurses, though: to what extent are we "allowed" to have lives outside work? The public holds us to a ridiculous standard. This could have become a really interesting discussion about something that affects all of us online, but instead it immediately disintegrated into monkeys chucking poo.
I urge us (I include myself) to stop this kind of thing. We are adults, and we are professionals. We can keep having fun on social media without chucking poo. We can make a good start toward catching up with "the docs" by simply checking ourselves when we start reacting off the cuff. Social media being what it is, sometimes the reaction has already happened. It's always OK to admit making a mistake and then change the course of the reaction. I hope we can support and help each other in this goal of being adults.
Leave a comment with your thoughts!