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The Uses and Abuses of Social Networking Sites

The impact of social networking sites on people’s personal and professional growth

While evaluating the uses and abuses of social networking sites, it is necessary to consider some basic information, concerning an opportunity cyberspace provides people with.

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First of all, it should be pointed out that such social networking sites as Facebook, MySpace are widely used by employers, in order to evaluate after-work behavior of potential or current workers. In other words, one can conclude that managers’ decision whether to employ a person or no partially depends upon private information that people make public through the sites.

Taking into account the number of people who are registered in Online Social Networking Web Sites, it becomes obvious that OSNs play extremely important roles in people’s life. For instance, one is to keep in mind that the number of Facebook’s registered users exceeds 350 million.

Generally, it should be noted that when people decide to use OSNs, they share both personal and professional information. However, the major point, which must be considered, is that some individuals control information, which reflects their interests; while others do not think about the nature and amount of information they make available.

For instance, an investigation, which was held by Peluchette and Karl in 2010, showed that 53 % of people, who are registered in Facebook placed the photos involving alcohol use; on the other hand, revealing information was also posted by approximately 50% of Facebook’s users (Waring & Buchanan 15).

In 2007, a special survey showed that more than 44% of employers used Facebook to find information about applicants. Finally, the results of the research showed that more than 50% of managers decided not to hire potential employees after viewing their personal information.

Anti-discrimination policies employers are to take into account cannot be neglected, as the members of certain protected classes cannot be culled. While employers can prove that they have no intentions to use some kind of information to discriminate, it is not illegal to become familiar with an applicant’s personal information, including his or her marital status, national origin, etc.

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The choice not to hire a potential employee is to be based on occupational requirements. Generally, The Society of Human Resource Management states that employers cannot rely on information of OSNs as the most reliable source. On the contrary, it is necessary to consider all the aspects of a person’s life. Thus, a recent example of this is associated with a picture of Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps, who smokes marijuana. On the one hand, it is evident that “The Phelps photos appeared just to

commemorate a “party” but were eventually utilized to result in a negative image of one of the most successful athletes in US Olympic history” (Waring & Buchanan 16-17). In the United States of America, privacy is protected by the Fourth Amendment; however, the protection is related to illegal search. OSNs, in their turn, cannot be regarded as the sources of illegal information, as some data can be found in a public forum.

Social media sites and healthcare specialists’ career

Another important point, which must be considered, is healthcare professionals’ attitude towards social media sites. While speaking about the advantages healthcare professionals are provided with, an opportunity to share health information with colleagues seems to be the most appropriate benefit of OSNs. Moreover, it is also rather convenient to connect with patients online. The employees of healthcare sphere can start a blog, or interact within special communities.

Despite the described advantages, the dangers of OSNs healthcare specialists can face seem to be much more important. Thus, Darice Britt states that “friending patients on social media sites may pose risks under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and state privacy laws” (par. 6).

In other words, there is a need to point out that healthcare specialists have to rights to share any heath information of a certain patient. Thus, no physical descriptions, pictures and names are allowed to be posted without a patient’s permission.

The most popular OSNs among healthcare professionals are Facebook and Linkedln. MySpace and Twitter came third

Carmen Carpenter a head of Health Sciences Program from a private educational institution South University is of the opinion that OSNs uses are potentially risky. The main argument is related to the advices healthcare professionals can provide the registered users with.

Thus, a specialist can tell a patient to take an aspirin, but some other users can decide that they are also allowed to take the same medicine. So, who will be responsible for a negative reaction to an aspirin other users can experience? Carpenter states that healthcare professionals should “tell people to consult with their physician and that their recommendations are not substitutes for actual medical help” (Britt par. 13).

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While using OSNs, healthcare professionals should keep in mind the details, which are related to some legal issues. Thus, when speaking about a patient’s privacy, it is necessary to remember that according to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act healthcare providers have to limit their communication with patients through online social networking websites. The information, which can help identify a patient, is protected by HIPAA. If a patient’s rights are violated (when a healthcare provider reveals a patient’s information through OSNs), certain penalties and fines can be imposed.

When speaking about fraud and abuse, one is to keep in mind that

Federal and state laws aimed at preventing fraud and abuse in health care prohibit healthcare providers from giving third parties anything of value as an inducement for the third party to generate referrals to the healthcare provider for services which may be reimbursable by Medicare or Medicaid (Britt par. 22).

The employees of healthcare services are not allowed to intervene in political campaigns sponsoring social networking sites to support a certain person seeking or nominated for election.

The professionals, who provide a patient with a certain advice, should remember about the state a patient is from; thus, if a healthcare specialist is not licensed in a state a patient writes from, a healthcare provider risks liability according to state licensing laws.

OSNs and their psychological influence

Finally, some words must be said about a psychological impact of social networking websites on people’s communication abilities. In our days, people prefer to spend more time online. A person’s unwillingness to communicate face-to-face is not regarded as a disturbing sign; on the contrary, it seems that communication through OSNs provides persons with more advantages. However, “alienation, introversion, communication apprehension, and reticence” are considered to be real outcomes of an interaction through OSNs (Sheldon 68).

The conclusion

Social networking sites represent the modern way of people’s interaction. However, the disadvantages of social media and their impact on person’s life must be considered more carefully.

Works Cited

Britt, Darice. Healthcare Professionals and Social Networking, 2012.

Sheldon, Pavica. The Relationship Between Unwillingness-to-Communicate and Students’ Facebook Use, 2008.

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Waring, Renee and Robert, Buchanan. Social Networking Web Sites: The Legal and Ethical Aspects of Pre-Employment Screening and Employee Surveillance, 2010.

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