Saturday, April 16, 2022

Sharing & Oversharing: How To Respect Privacy and Ensure You Are Not Misinformed Online

By Kara Jackman

In 2004, in the days before Web 2.0, and Facebook, I wrote an article about the ins and outs of conducting personal medical research online. Looking back on it now, in a world filled with “fake news,” and few people evaluating the links they share, the article reads as quaint, cautionary advice.

Today social media is such a huge part of our lives. We are easily influenced by the posts and videos people create. Not to mention targeted ads that show up after we’ve Googled something or maybe even just said it aloud.

We often play fast and loose with our own personal information and facts around a topic or issue. As a librarian that teaches research methods and evaluation of resource techniques to masters and doctoral level students, I want folks to read widely and deeply, and then come to their own conclusions about the topic at hand. That said, I also want those claims or beliefs to be backed up with high-quality, well-resourced evidence in the form of books and resources that are peer-reviewed and authoritative. 

Further, in an ideal world, I would encourage people to not share information that is not their own online. Let’s say someone posts a link to a video or article, and you see it, but it looks suspect to you. Do not reshare it. Instead, take a deeper dive and look at the creator of the piece of media. In libraries, we call this evaluation of resources. Use this rubric and then decide whether to share the link if it matches your view or take on the topic. Taking time to trace the source of a piece of media delivers better, more factual results. 

Sharing and Oversharing

Posting and resharing personal information on social media can be dangerous. (Check out number eight in this article.) Retweeting or sharing posts that are not your own could make others uncomfortable, embarrassed, or worse, even put them in danger. For example, by sharing someone is traveling on medical travel, you could put them at risk of theft, assault, or worse, physical danger. Additionally, sharing medical information without asking permission could potentially violate federal privacy law, a myriad of local privacy laws, HIPAA depending on your connection to the individual, and the person’s trust. 

But everyone else is sharing this post, Kara, why shouldn’t I?

Right, I know. I get that. You want to share, to rally support and show an outpouring of love, but please ask permission first.  Before you share, check to see if anything they wrote might contain sensitive medical information, or information about whereabouts that could be easily exploited by people outside your inner circle.

Getting Personal 

If you are posting about yourself or your family, think about the implications of putting the information out there. Not only are your children minors who cannot consent, you are also the guardian of their digital legacy. The positive side of sharing personal information is its ability to help build community, vent, and explain what you're experiencing and gather the support you need no matter where you are geographically. Measure twice; cut once applies: Draft a post and read it after a few minutes before you click “post” on your share. 

In general, keep your posts vague, do not go into great detail about where you are or what you are doing. Limit the amount of medical information in your post; not only do strangers read this - but advertisers, too! Your data is valuable to corporations and this information is private until you share it. Doctors would need waivers to share information about you; so consider your post a waiver of rights.

Stolen Images

Images are another huge issue in our community too. Pirates, predators, and others that are trying to make a quick buck may take photos and use them to gain sympathy and money. If you are worried about this, do what I see my friends with children doing. Post the pictures via a “story” that disappears after a limited time, or post them in a private group established for your child but take them down after a while, so they do not live on Facebook forever. Friends and family, do not share these photos with others without permission from the original poster, especially if they are posted in a story or private group. 

Sharing Medical Guidance and Personal Medical Information 

Personal medical information is one kind of content that we share on social media. Medical advice, information, and anecdotal remedies are another. Remember this when posing questions about your own care on social media. Some of the responses may not be helpful to your body and medical needs. When doing research on a medical topic, please go to reputable sources like those held in libraries. Many, if not all, resources in libraries are peer-reviewed, or fact checked, for inaccuracies and misinformation. If you are looking online, visit hospital websites or governmental agencies like the CDC or NIH. If you need access to certain medical journals, you can typically obtain this through your local library’s website. 

If you simply Google a topic, care to check who wrote the article, who published it, and what sources are cited at the end of the article. Evaluate the resource by using the CRAAP test. If you are reading advice in a forum, take a look at when it was posted, how many “upvotes” it has received, and understand the original poster could be literally anyone. Ask yourself questions like, “Is this information still relevant? What credentials does the author have or claim to have? Is this old, outdated information? What does the writer want to communicate and why? What motivated this author to write this information?”


People can be “wildly careless” about what they say and do on social media. Out in the real world, we do not believe every word we hear people say while walking down the street. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds are just online sidewalks. You can choose to engage with individuals you are walking by or not. You wouldn’t walk around with your wallet open, taped to your back. Likewise, be vigilant about what you make available online. Social media and the internet are immensely valuable resources when used properly and wisely! 


Social media etiquette for the modern medical student: …

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Retreat 2022: Getting Around In Downtown Dallas

By Kara Jackman
After flying in and grabbing your bags, your next question will be "how does one get around Dallas, Texas?" Or maybe you may muse, "How do we get to the hotel?" Answers to these questions appear in this blog post ahead of our upcoming Annual Family Retreat and Educational Symposium in Dallas, Texas.You will be here, there, and everywhere before you know it...and for very little money. 

Lyft and Uber

Let's kick it off with taxis and rideshares. From the airport to Olive street, there are many ways to motor to our retreat destination, the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown. The average taxi ride to the hotel costs about $43. A ride from Lyft or Uber will run around the same price point plus, some additional fees, putting the total cost at approximately $45-$55. For something a bit more reasonable, keep reading to learn more about what the city has for public transportation.

DART Away To Fun

Retreat revelers can hop on in another sector of the transit system at the airport. You can take one of the DART buses at the airport to find your way to the hotel or to get around the city. Near the hotel, the D-Link buses are free and available in downtown Dallas.The maps and information on the DART website are extremely helpful. There are many accessibility options, too. Plan your travel with DART ahead of time. Download their app to your device, give them a buzz about your accessibility needs, and read up before you are wheels down in Dallas.

Trolley McKinney Street M-Line 

Photo Credit: Elliot Munoz

The good news is that once you arrive at the hotel, there is a way to get around in style and, perhaps more importantly, for free. This part of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit takes you up, down, and around McKinney Street in Dallas’ downtown. The M-Line trolley may be the only transportation you will need while at the retreat. Ride in style on this cool, vintage trolley that travels further and wider than this writer ever expected. You can choose to go to one of the many local museums from the aquarium to the sculpture garden, or check out the other hotels in the neighborhood. (Spoiler Alert: Our Sheraton was recently renovated, making it one of the newer properties in the area.) Finally, you can also explore trails for hiking, parks for frolicking, and other nearby open spaces to spend free time with your CCA friends. The trolley can be tracked online, and did I’s free. Donations are welcome. Learn more about this transit service at this website.

Try an E-Frog!

A what? Yes, I said E-Frog. E-Frog is an electric golf cart shuttle service that travels around various Dallas neighborhoods. All you need to do to make use of the service is text your departure and arrival locations and they will pick you up! Tips are encouraged for this free service. Get the phone number and check out the team behind this cool company here.



Walking is the best way to get to know the city. It’s one of my favorite ways to get a sense of place when I am traveling. I encourage you to walk around the area and explore while on the way to dinner or out to grab snacks and supplies. Please make sure to stay aware of your surroundings, and always walk with friends or family. Never walk alone, and stay around populated areas. 

Whether you may be walking to grab a bite or stepping out for some adventure, I hope to share with you some fun, local dining options, and attractions, all within walking distance in my next blog in this Dallas Retreat 2022 series.

Ta-ta for now. Next week, we will take a look at our downtown Dallas dining options. Say that 5 times fast as your retreat-themed speech pathology exercise! :-)