Dr. Sherry Turkle: “I share, therefore I am”

Dr. Sherry Turkle has interviewed countless people about their plugged-in lives. In her most recent TED talk, the MIT professor and author (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other) observes that being so pervasively plugged into mobile technology not only changes what we do, but can even change who we are. She notes, for example, that people think nothing of texting during corporate board meetings. They shop and browse and update Facebook during classes and presentations. They sleep with their smartphones. People text at funerals.

People even talk about the important new skill, she says, of learning to make eye contact – while texting.  Continue reading

Is your life as awesome as you pretend it is on Facebook?

Before I start, a plea: don’t shoot the messenger. A study* reported in the journal Personality and Individual Differences last month has suggested that there’s a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you qualify as a “socially disruptive” narcissist. Just for the record, in a previous 2010 study on college students, narcissism was explained as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance.”

Study participants who scored highly on something called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire apparently had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often, and updated their status and profile pictures more frequently. The research comes amid “increasing evidence that self-absorbed young people are becoming increasingly obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships.”  I’m just saying . . .   Continue reading

Doctors behaving badly online

And here we go again. Yet another warning to doctors who decide they really must wade into social media. This warning is for those doctors who have learned nothing from the cautionary tale of 48-year old E.R. physician Dr. Alexandra Thran. She learned a hard lesson last year about the consequences of behaving badly online after she was fired from her Rhode Island hospital, fined and reprimanded by the state medical board.

Why? Dr. Thran had posted personal information online about one of her trauma patients. Although her Facebook post did not specifically include the patient’s name, she violated the patient’s privacy rights by writing enough that others in the community could easily identify the patient, according to a board filing.  Continue reading