Social media is a blessing and a curse, but either way, it’s the way of the future (and so are you!).
Caps off to you! You’re about to graduate during a global pandemic, and as you patiently await the ink to dry on your diploma, you’re perhaps contemplating switching your personal social media platforms over to one that provides toothier vibes to the world.
As you think about making this change, here is how your time may play out.
You go down a rabbit hole on Instagram, mass follow various dental accounts, because why not? Following massive accounts that repost and share multiple videos daily that are clickbait in nature but perform well with the everchanging algorithm. You know those videos well; they are the ones that provide you with some cringe-worthy excitement; nails on a chalkboard meet ASMR, and maybe you learn a thing or two. Or perhaps you’re feeling the urge to write a comment about how poorly the scaler was adapted; the angulation was all wrong, and the nonexistent fulcrum was floating somewhere near the patient’s eye; nonetheless, you’re still staring mesmerized, scrolling endlessly at 11 pm.
You then proceed to scan smaller accounts; think, lifestyle meets dental influencer peeps. Posting fun facts about random products from countries you didn’t even know produced their own toothpaste brands. Finally, you watch some vlogs, read some captions and decide who you want to be on social media because sometimes being yourself and being vulnerable seems like too much work or TMI.
You immediately think about all the cool things you will do, the education you will share, tips you may consider posting for the world to see, and, of course, the potential paid partnerships that might come with the territory should you “choose your own adventure.”
You have a “today years old” moment when you “learn” something new in a quick 60-second reel that has 45k views and think to yourself, “Self, LET’S GO, I can totally do some dances to trending music and overlay five things you need to know about toothpaste.”
Then your battery dies while your pinky goes numb.
Before you get your Trello board and get ready to plan your upcoming content, you should know a few things about social media and being a healthcare provider (from my perspective in Ontario).
1. You have marketing guidelines to follow, study, understand and live by.
As an RDH in Ontario, the CDHO guidelines were developed to guide and support dental hygienists in understanding the Advertising Regulation. Sadly, they have been in effect since 1994, long before modern-day social media platforms existed.
- Google – 1998
- Facebook – 2004
- YouTube – 2005
- Instagram – 2010
- Tiktok – 2016
They were slightly updated in January 2014, but no substantial updates to modernize to “get with the times,” but that’s a topic for another day. Live, breathe and sleep with this document under your pillow, hoping for reverse osmosis as this will be your only saving grace to avoid uncomfortable conversations that come by registered mail.
2. Someone is always watching.
When posting on social media, there is always someone lurking in the shadows. Some give you a like (insert heart emoji), send a happy DM and congratulate you on being brave enough to share your thoughts with the world. Others silently judge and even report without having the whole story. Using words or phrases like “I recommend vs. I like” can change the entire context of a post and perhaps may take you from the red to the green concerning marketing guidelines. So learn to love things you can control like the “restrict, unfollow and block” features in that order. It’s like my personal three-strikes policy to help me sleep a little better at night and avoid uncomfortable DMs.
3. Negative self-talk finds its way in.
As a podcaster, I have the privilege of hearing fascinating stories from influential dental people. A common theme I notice is the existence of negative self-talk. I, too, find myself asking my team questions like, “Does this sound stupid? Do my scrubs bunch strangely? How does this come off? Is this too much? Is this not enough?”
Platforms have long been criticized for upholding dangerously unrealistic standards of success and what defines beauty. I haven’t met one person throughout my years on social media and podcasting that has a social media platform similar to mine that hasn’t, at one point, been the fallen victim of self-doubt, now known as imposter syndrome.
If at this point, you’ve decided you can get past the sections as mentioned earlier, then you’re heading into social media with the proper perspective. The pros are much sweeter when you can guarantee you’re prepared for the cons.
Be your true self, have fun with it and always show your support to fellow creators. Until next time, peace out, peeps.
About the Author
Irene Iancu has worked in various specialties including Paedo, Perio, General Practice and Orthodontics. Her goal in her current holistic practice is preventing and maintaining an optimal mind, mouth and body. Irene connects the systemic effects of oral conditions to her clients, while making a change for overall health and wellness. As a Peer and Quality Assurance Mentor contacted by the CDHO, a Clinical and Theoretical Dental Hygiene instructor at Oxford College, and a practicing dental hygienist in Toronto, Irene shares her passion for education with us today in the hopes we can change the lives of our clients and their loved ones. Irene can be contacted at Irene@toothlifestudios.ca, www.toothlifestudio.ca, IG: @ToothLife.Irene, @Toothlife,