The necessity of becoming two-faced

In the past, two-faced was a term used to describe those who presented contradictory opinions to different groups.

The objective was to win favour with both sides, presumably to gain personal advantage.

(why do I think “politician” when I type that?)

Nowadays, we can offer a new interpretation of the term two-faced for those who run their own business (especially freelancers and small traders – that includes dental practice owners).

Face #1 – our personal Facebook profile.

Face #2 – our professional Facebook page.

For some freelancers (for example – a business coach), the two can often appear like a Venn diagram:

  • 80% of my personal profile is about my personal life, 20% about my professional life.
  • 80% of my professional page is about my professional life and 20% about my personal life.

As a business coach I can get away with that.

It’s not as flexible for a healthcare professional.

Patients who are relying on you for treatment may not want to see photographs of your recent track day.

Friends probably won’t want to see clinical shots of your latest complex invasive procedure.

These are not absolutes – the exceptions will prove the rule.

You know how litigious a world we are living in.

It is obvious that there is no such thing as a “private” Facebook group.

Let me share with you a personal story.

One of my own dental trolls recently lifted a photograph of me sipping a cocktail in a bubble bath (modesty maintained thank goodness) from Annie’s Facebook profile (because he is blocked from mine) and posted it on a “private” dental forum – the photograph was taken over 5 years ago in a moment of personal and private humour (although with hindsight, posting was the mistake). We had actually forgotten that the photo existed.

Within hours I had been copied in, as usual.

It remains to speculate on what sort of abnormal motivation has him scouring the profile of my life partner?

She, of course, felt violated and spent some subsequent hours de-friending dental folk that she doesn’t know personally.

I’ve never met this person, never worked with him professionally and have no idea why he occasionally flares up.

What would you do if you discovered that a 50+ male (dentist) was trolling the personal photographs of your female partner (or, in the case of this individual, previously sending insulting private Facebook messages to your children)?

Of course, if I complained to the GDC of unprofessional conduct, the anti-Chris Barrow community would howl that it was an inappropriate use of the ARF.

I have learned to live with this and accept it as a necessary, if irritating, part of my marketing and PR.

You are at greater risk.

Your private and public pages and profiles are being viewed by the GDC, by dental law firms, by your suppliers, by potential new patients and by the trolls that inevitably exist in your prospect and patient database.

A few days ago I received a shared message from a dentist, asking me (and many others) to unfriend an aggrieved patient who is currently trolling his way across many dental Facebook profiles and pages, looking for reasons to decry the profession.

Your car, yacht, bike, holiday (and bath) snaps are valuable ammunition for those who want to bring you or the profession down, for whatever sociopathic, legal or politically motivated reason.

So just remember, before your next post, selfie or comment, that you have to be two-faced on Facebook – the face you show the public and the face you show in private.

But there is no private.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.