I joined Facebook back when it was only open to students with a .edu email address from one of a select few universities. It served as a way of learning more about other students you met at school and keeping tabs on friends you knew at other colleges. Hidden from the prying eyes of family members or potential employers, information was freely available.
Now that there are over one billion Facebook user accounts, I keep a low profile on social networks. To be honest, it just is not fun anymore. Every time I post, I have to consider whether I would want my grandmother, boss, and future in-laws to see it. More noticeably, when I search for something on Google, my Facebook wall instantly becomes plastered with targeted ads for those same products. It is no longer a social network—it is now an electronic billboard.
There is a big push in dentistry to boost practice marketing via social networking. But in my “non-guru, no-experience, just your average Facebook user and potential patient” perspective, I encourage you to think carefully before engaging in a social media campaign. Social networks are supposed to be fun ways to connect with people. Make your social media presence about YOU and not what you do. As a user, I do not want to hear about your teeth whitening special!