In my previous post, I waxed philosophical about the dark ethics of social media – with an arguably absurd hypothetical question. You can ponder it here.
Building on some of the questions concerning the intersection of social media and healthcare, let’s think about another hypothetical question:
Should your social graph (well, maybe not the entire graph – but your identities at least) be included in your medical record?
After all, think about the other identified media in your medical record: Phone Number, Address, Emergency Contact, etc.
We all know the trend of our identities is heading towards the ‘cloud’.
That is, at some point your identity will be your Twitter, Facebook, Google or FutureSoMe username.
So embedded in the title of my post are two things:
- Your online identity (e.g. your social media account(s))
- The ‘graph’ of the connections among your usernames, the other usernames connected to you, the content and meta-data on the content your radiate, etc.
Obviously first is component – your identity – raises a lower order of complexity than the second.
Still, your Twitter username is a different form of identity than your telephone number. So having your username in your medical record carries implications – who has access to your username?, etc.
The second component – your graph – well, that raises some rather fascinating stuffs. Good, bad and uncertain.
For instance, on one hand it could be argued that as more of us live online, our social graph meshes with our health care. Thus there may be ways to integrate your graph into your medical record in meaningful, relevant ways.
On the other, what are the boundaries of such integration? What are the possible harms?
Again, what ethical territory could we be entering?
These are just questions. You can dismiss them. Be my guest.
…Or you can entertain them and perhaps find out the social media – like space – is a strange substance, that bends and warps and isn’t quite exactly what it appears to our prejudiced senses.