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I’m always fascinated by the use of social media, and our industry is really no exception. In many ways, I think we’re just starting to figure out how things work, which means there are bound to be some bumps along the way. Still, I try to follow as much as I can because I also believe that the places where MTs are in the social media realm tell a story and also are great places to share resources.


In the last few weeks, one of the groups I have participated in on Facebook has been pretty rowdy. There are several MTs in that group who work for Transcend and with the recent announcement that Nuance is purchasing the company, discussions naturally started about what that meant for the MTs. The group is titled “Medical Transcription Editing Tips and Tricks” so there’s nothing that brands it as a company page. In fact, by Facebook’s definition, this isn’t a company set up. They define pages and groups as:

Pages allow real organizations, businesses, celebrities and brands to communicate broadly with people who like them. Pages may only be created and managed by official representatives.

Groups provide a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests. Groups can be created by anyone.

I can’t even remember how I got added to that group. MTs often add people they know into a group and it sets up a place to share information.

The first thing I noticed is that the posts talking about the buyout were deleted from the page. There was then a reminder by someone who works in human resources at Transcend that the purpose of the page was to share tips about editing and that negativity was inappropriate. I saw several posts asking for clarification of whether the page was a Transcend page or a general Facebook page, but never saw a response. Then I saw people reporting on other pages that they had been removed from the page. I did post one comment suggesting that if the page was indeed a company page, it would be appropriate for them to say what can and can’t be on their page, however, I thought it would also be good to clarify that. No response. Yesterday, I saw a post on another board saying someone had received an email from the HR person saying the page was indeed a company page and that all non-employees were being removed. And sure enough, for the first time ever, I was deleted from a group.

Companies are using social media more and more these days. That’s a good thing. What I don’t think is a good thing is to not be transparent that something is a company page. And in this particular case, I think it would have been much more “social” to simply put an announcement up about their intentions, leave it for a couple of days, and then remove those who weren’t employees. That wasn’t their choice for whatever reason.

Can Social Media Be Controlled?

It’s not uncommon for any company to attempt to control dialogue about their company. I haven’t found that works to well. I have always believed it’s much better to simply address things publicly than to try to control what people say. Even recent posts in the AHDI lounge related to the survey became a bit heated with the chair of the committee providing a bit of a scolding to those who left comments. Perhaps my favorite quote in the comments there is this one:

One final thought: If we can’t engage in discussions that include passionate disagreement and strong opinions without being called out as hating on each other, then we might as well hang it up right here and now, and go join AHIMA as red-headed stepchildren if they’ll have us. (That, BTW, was pure snark; no disrespect intended to either AHDI or AHIMA. Or redheads, or stepchildren, for that matter.)

In the case of companies who attempt to control things like the above discussions on Facebook, those employees simply find workarounds. It’s not too tough, set up a separate group, make it private, and invite those with whom you want to have dialogue. And then you have a way to brainstorm, to discuss, to encourage, whatever you’d like to do. For me, I’d really prefer to be a part of that dialogue instead of shutting it down. At least then you know what’s being said.

Social media has changed how we communicate. Just as with comments on this blog, dialogue is a good thing, as long as it’s respectful. These are changing times in our profession, people are worried about how all of those changes might impact them, and I think anything that creates dialogue that can explore solutions is a good thing. I think it has opened a world of opportunity to those in our profession who have been somewhat isolated at home. That may lead to some empowerment in our industry that we haven’t seen in a long time.

How about it? What are your thoughts?

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Filed under: Challenges in Medical TranscriptionFuture of Medical Transcription

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