Medenta’s Lesley Turner recently caught up with young dentist Hiraa Jamil and John Lewis of mental health charity Confidental, to talk about social media and the positive and negative impacts of promoting your dental work online…
LT: Hi John, as someone who has been working with Confidental and helping dentists with the pressures and stresses of the industry, what is your view of social media, and what would your advice be to dentists when it comes to using social media to promote their work?
JL: I think social media certainly does have a purpose among dentists, and a lot of people share some really good work on there. However, the best lecture I ever had during my training was from an implantologist who just showed us examples of his failures.
We learned far more from those examples than we did from seeing perfect examples, and by looking at them it reduced the pressure we had put on ourselves and made us realise, not everyone can perform perfectly every single time. I think that is what social media does to an extent, and dentists think because people are posting all these photographs of perfect work, it must mean they are failing.
I have four associates who have their own accounts that they use for publicity and to network, and I have no problem with that because it has helped them to grow, however, there are other downfalls.
As people know, social media is full of instant experts, so if you are posting pictures of work and they attract some negative comments then it can be a tough place if you are feeling a big fragile, so I’d say that is just something you need to be wary of.
LT: Hi Hiraa, social media is used by millions of people in all walks of life and in dentistry there has been an increase in the number of dentists using platforms to promote their work. From the perspective of a young dentist what are the positive and negative aspects of using social media?
HJ: I have a personal account and then I have more of a professional one – and recently I’ve taken a break from using the professional one because things were getting a bit too much. People post some great work on there and it can be really inspiring, but that can sometimes come with its negatives. I’m a new NHS dentist still finding my feet and I see all this other great work dentists are promoting, and it almost puts an added pressure on me, to be delivering what they are.
On the flip side, I have seen the positive benefits of social media. I have been able to network with a lot of other professionals, and people have asked me to get involved with mental health webinars and podcasts.
My advice for other dentists when it comes to social media would be, by all means start an account if you want to promote and show off your great work, however, don’t think there is an obligation that you have to follow others, and everyone has to do it.
A lot of new dentists do like to chronicle their journey, however, it can put an added pressure onto you because everyone wants to be seen as perfect, like many people portray to be on social media.
However, social media isn’t reality and things aren’t always perfect. On social media you don’t see people’s other work, or when they are having bad days, so that can be one of the downsides of using social media as a young dentist.
Hira is a dental core trainee working in the North West
John is the Principal at Ghyllmount Dental and a trustee of Confidental
Lesley is a Business Development Manager for Medenta