Using social media to destroy your career

Using social media to destroy your career

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During the pandemic we witnessed numerous professionals engage in non-professional behavior. I collected a long list of tweets from medical doctors and scientists trashing their colleagues in the field, often swearing at them, over disagreements. While this may have gone on behind the scenes previously, they now air their disagreements and very dirty laundry in public on social media. These actions have severely disrupted confidence in medicine and science.  Science was largely given a pass to be viewed as trustworthy, calm and rationale. That pass has been lost forever.

For example, this tweet constituted targeted harassment and was taken offline by Twitter. Dr. Jake Kane disagreed with Dr. Monica Gandhi and Dr. Vinay Prasad, professors and practitioners UCSF, so Dr. Kane posted this:

That was targeted harassment and extremely unprofessional. Twitter deleted the tweet. Several others have seen their accounts suspended or terminated.

Many professionals used social media in ways that destroyed their own careers. One of these occurred over the past weekend. Last week, SCOTUS ruled on a prior legal interpretation on abortion policies, and this unleashed a torrent of posts on social media.

One was from someone that was identified as a nurse practitioner at a hospital in Illinois. In her tweet she said she reserved the right to practice health care based on one’s sex, race, religion and political views – and she reserved the right to withhold care based on her assessment of those attributes.

Over the weekend, her employer posted a statement saying they provide care to everyone regardless of race, age, ethnicity, cultural or other attributes and that they were addressing the issue.

By Monday, her bio page on the hospital web site goes to Page Not Found. This suggests she was fired.

All because social media made it easy to publicly make a fool of oneself.

She is not the first nor the last person to have destroyed a career because of an emotional outburst on social media.

Think twice, three times – even more – before posting on social media.


In comments to the original social media thread where the above post was made, several people who identified themselves as working in health care said they had colleagues who had looked up patients online – and had provided less care when they found they had political disagreements with the patient. If true, that is very frightening.

I read that and thought back to a situation where I was basically threatened by a doctor for offering a topic in a public meeting on health care – that there should be an agenda item to address efficiency and effectiveness of health care too.

Because of this, I have taken offline nearly all posts I made during the pandemic on my other blog, concerning Covid-19 and public health. I do not know how many posts were public but there were over 2,000 posts in all; many times I write posts that never go public.

I describe my concerns and why I deleted most all of my public health/Covid posts in a post on that other blog.


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