Social Media and Medicine: How Facebook, Twitter, and Other Platforms Influence People’s Cosmetic Medical Choices

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How Social Media Influences People’s Cosmetic Medical Choices

Graphic by Shelby Evans

Would you like your doctor on Facebook? How about your plastic surgeon? That’s the question RealSelf asked more than 700 people who contacted a cosmetic doctor via RealSelf. The results were resoundingly clear: No way.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said no, they wouldn’t like their cosmetic surgeon on Facebook though the reasons why differed. The most common explanation was privacy: “I don’t want others to know” took 43% of the no vote and 28% of the total vote.

How Social Media Influences People’s Cosmetic Medical Choices

People also aren’t interested in using social media to research a procedure. Facebook and Twitter both ranked near the bottom in terms of importance for medical research. Even photo-heavy platforms like Instagram and Pinterest had low marks when it came to helping people make an informed choice, with 53% of respondents ranking Instagram as “not at all important” in helping them make a cosmetic medical choice.

How Social Media Influences People’s Cosmetic Medical Choices

But just because people aren’t willing to have their private medical choices pop up in Facebook’s news feed doesn’t mean they don’t use social media at all when researching their options. More than half of respondents said they like doctors to be “somewhat engaged” on social media; 32% said they want them “very engaged.” The divide was about the same for the doctor’s practice too.

How Social Media Influences People’s Cosmetic Medical Choices

People particularly care about social media when it comes to picking a doctor. If a cosmetic doctor has very limited information online, people overwhelmingly see that person as outdated. A mere 18% said they thought a doctor without any online presence was successful, while 16% thought the doctor may even be hiding something. “That raises a red flag for me on many levels,” wrote one survey taker.

How Social Media Influences People’s Cosmetic Medical Choices

The consensus? People want their cosmetic doctors to use social media, even if they as patients never like a status, retweet a message, or favorite a post.
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Elisabeth Kramer is former managing editor of RealSelf Trends.

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