“Don’t google yourself,” is the advice from a Medical Defence Organisation in the latest Medical Journal of Australia, “because you’ll probably find something that you don’t like.”
That’s fascinating. It’s a bit like screening for cancer in people without symptoms. Sometimes screening tests are abnormal even when there is no cancer. This is more likely to happen when the probability of cancer is low.
The topic of the MJA article was reputation management. So I wonder, if an MDO tells us not to screen our online reputation, does that mean the probability of finding something we don’t like is low? Or is it because we can’t do anything about the unpleasant things we may find?
The same article mentions:
But the past 12 months have seen medical defence organisations (MDOs) experience a sharp rise in concerns about growing online threats to individual doctors’ and practice reputations.
In that case, telling doctors not to Google themselves is like saying to someone with a strong family history of diabetes: “Don’t test for diabetes, because you’ll probably find an elevated blood sugar level.”
When I blogged about the MJA article earlier this week, Dr Ewen McPhee commented:
Interested to know why you wouldn’t google yourself, how will that protect your reputation?
I think he is right. Isn’t it in the interest of the doctor and the practice to know what’s out there on the web? Especially since the concerns about online reputation are rising? In this case it is also right to screen because there is a ‘treatment’ available.
Google has a simple tool, called Me on the web. It can be activated via the Google dashboard, and the service lets you know when new online information appears about you or your practice. If you have concerns about the information or you feel it is incorrect, the content can in some cases be removed with Google’s help.
Find more information about how to manage your online reputation with Google.