There has been a recent movement on social media platforms like TikTok to post negative critiques of overpriced products in an attempt to sway followers away from purchasing them. This “deinfluencing” trend is supposedly meant to dissuade followers from indulging in impulse purchases and overspending, since the individuals who create such posts are not being compensated for the products they are reviewing. The assumption is that the person is being honest with followers, even if that person recommends another product instead, effectively encouraging followers to shop for something.
However, even if another product is not being suggested as a replacement for the product which is being criticized, the social media person posting the review technically still is influencing. I mean, if I trust the opinion of someone I am following, and that person tells me not to waste my money on something, then I have been influenced, right? And that, in turn, gives that person more credibility in my eyes, thus boosting his or her power as, you guessed it, an influencer.
Remember that time you saw your teacher at the grocery store? Maybe you’re still recovering from the trauma. Even though nine-year-old you knew that your teacher was, well, human, the idea that he or she engaged in human behaviors similar to those of your own family was a tough pill to swallow. Spotting a teacher on vacation? Perish the thought. What about your doctor? Your surgeon? They don’t actually eat food, do errands, or (gasp) go to the beach like the rest of us, do they? Well if they do, just hope you don’t have to witness it, right? With social media, oftentimes a click of a button will save you a trip out in public to peek at the private lives of those who care for you or your children. One group based in Boston sought to take their own peek into the lives of young surgeons via fabricated social media accounts. And they wrote about it in a highly respected academic journal.
In the August 2020 issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, a manuscript entitled “Prevalence of Unprofessional Social Media Content Among Young Vascular Surgeons,” was retracted by the journal’s editorial board yesterday. The article sought to identify what the authors consider to be “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” behavior on various social media platforms by young vascular surgeons, in efforts to recognize and, in turn, discourage, any such behavior which could have a negative impact on patient respect for physicians. While some of the issues addressed are clearly critical for patient care, including patient privacy violations, slander of colleagues, and illegal drug use, many of the other issues addressed can be construed as privacy violations into the lives of young physicians. Particularly female physicians. The investigators focused on recent vascular surgery residency and fellowship graduates, putting the average age of the study subjects (who did not give permission to be studied) at around 30-35 years old. They created “neutral” (translation: fake) Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to search the social media feeds of young surgeons.
The three fake accounts to search for unprofessional behavior were created by male students and fellows, ages 28-37 years old. Included in what they considered to be unprofessional behavior were photographs of “provocative” Halloween costumes and poses in bikinis. In addition, any reference to politically or socially-charged issues such as abortion and gun control were included as unprofessional behavior. The real social media world got word of this publication, and responded loud and clear. The notion that the focus was targeting young female surgeons on how they dress during their non-work time was met with disgust and uproar. The hashtag #MedBikini went viral on Twitter and Instagram, bringing countless women (and men) to proudly post pictures of themselves in bikinis or other casual attire, along with the #MedBikini hashtag, in mutual support of so-called “unprofessional” behavior outside of the operating room.
While the authors did address issues of patient privacy and uncollegial behavior, the focus on female surgeons wearing bikinis, especially tracked by male students and fellows under fake social media accounts, raised the “creep” factor to higher and higher levels as the issue came to the public. Hearkening back to the #ILookLikeASurgeon hashtag, which began in 2016, pointing out that, yes, even bikini-clad, all-shapes-and-sizes, all-genders-regardless-of-identity can be and are surgeons, #MedBikini is a trend to humanize, not de-professionalize, women in a traditionally male profession.
Dr. Mudit Chowdhary, a Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Rush University, shared his concerns with the study and on social media. When asked why he felt so strongly about the manuscript, he stated, “I have issues with the definition of unprofessional behavior…it is inappropriate to label social issues as unprofessional. We are humans first before physicians. Plus, the issues they label as controversial (gun control, abortion) are healthcare issues. Physicians are taught to be community leaders in medical school and we need to speak up in order to help our communities.” When asked about whether or not physicians should be held to higher standards, even on social media, he responded, “I do believe physicians should have some higher standards. For example, disclosing HIPAA information is something nobody else has to deal with. However, much of the issue is that the medical field is highly conservative and misogynistic.”
In response to such widely disseminated disgust with this publication, one of the lead authors, Dr. Jeffrey Siracuse, issued a public apology on Twitter:
And soon after, the editors of the journal issued a public statement with plans to retract the article from the journal. In their statement, they reveal that there were errors in the review process, including the issue of conscious and unconscious bias on the part of the investigators, as well as failure to obtain permission from national program directors to use the database in searching private and public social media accounts of recent graduates of training programs. Their retraction statement concluded as follows:
“Finally, we offer an apology to every person who has communicated the sadness, anger, and disappointment caused by this article. We have received an outpouring of constructive commentary on this matter, and we intend to take each point seriously and take resolute steps to improve our review process and increase diversity of our editorial boards.” (Peter Gloviczki, MD and Peter F. Lawrence, MD, Editors, Journal of Vascular Surgery).
There was some favorable response to this statement and retraction, yet many continue to feel that an assessment of professionalism was carried out in an extremely unprofessional manner, underscoring the irony of such an endeavor. Not to mention the lack of diversity in the editorial board, comprised of two male surgeons who happen to share the same first name.
While the issue of professionalism on the part of physicians should remain paramount, and does, indeed, require further exploration, monitoring, and careful attention, especially when it comes to patient privacy, social issues outside of the medical sphere should, perhaps, remain just social. But if you do see your surgeon out at the grocery store, or even at the beach, all that should matter right now is that they (and you) are wearing a mask.
The journal’s editor, Dr. Peter Gloviczki, commented that the paper had gone through the journal’s standard editorial review process, with three reviewers accepting the manuscript after major revisions. While the board is racially diverse, Dr. Gloviczki acknowledges that it lacks gender diversity. Soon after the concerns for the paper were made public, the editorial board “immediately reviewed the data collection, methodology, gender bias, results, and conclusions. It was obvious within our board that we found issues, including the fact that the list of doctors obtained from the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery is designed for internal society use, not for clinical data collection.” In addition, Dr. Gloviczki noted the journal’s failure “to identify definitions of unprofessional behavior and we missed the issue of subjectivity and bias in the review process.” He emphatically apologized for the errors, stating “We learned from this. We will be changing our review process, initiating a series of changes, including expanding the editorial board to include more women.”
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Influencer marketing has become an integral part of our modern culture, and is increasing in popularity as a way for businesses to capture new customers to purchase their products and services. Since the fitness industry is particularly visually centered, and also because it tends to sit on the cutting edge of brand marketing, many of my fitness friends and I have been able to forge long-standing relationships with brands as we bring awareness to their products, while also solidifying our relationships with our followers. It’s a wonderful symbiosis in which everyone wins – the brand has powerful advertising via social media portals, the influencer is able to garner the loyalty of fans by promoting respected items, and the followers are introduced to new and exciting products, usually with an associated discount as a thank you from the influencer and the company which is selling the product.
One critical component to success with influencer marketing, regardless of whether you are a company or an individual influencer, is to be willing and able to adjust to the changes which tend to occur across social media platforms. For example, Instagram and Facebook fairly recently implemented certain regulations on how a post should be tagged, and such regulations are always subject to change. It is vital to stay abreast of guideline changes as they come down the pike.
Another important aspect of influencer marketing is that influencers should be genuinely passionate about the brands they represent. A prime reason why social media marketing is so popular is that followers believe in the influencers they follow, and they want sound, honest advice on what merchandise or services they can purchase which will enable them to reach their fitness goals. Followers want to know what products an influencer has used to obtain his or her enviable physique, what fitness apparel is the most comfortable, functional and flattering, etc. The more honest an influencer is, the more the audience appreciates any recommendations made by that person.
Dr. Stacey Naito
In a similar vein, companies which turn to social media influencers to promote their products or services meet with the best success when they like the influencer’s overall vibe and messages, as well as the target audience which the influencer has built via social media. Fitness influencers of varying ages can also help to expand brand awareness for a company, as can influencers who have a unique perspective (moms, senior citizens, people with diabetes, etc.).
There are many athletes and fitness professionals who essentially fell into the world of brand influencership, partially because they were well-respected by their fitness peers, but mostly because they behaved with integrity and were transparent with their fans and followers about their experiences and struggles with training, diet, and performance. It makes a huge difference when an athlete speaks from the heart, and such candor helps to build up the brands he or she represents. From a personal perspective, I have never endorsed or promoted a brand or product which I did not wholeheartedly believe in, and I know my followers can tell that I am forthright and honest when I post YouTube reviews, blogposts, etc.
We certainly live in a very different age now, one in which people expect different options for their exercise regimens and meal plans. For example, fitness apps are incredibly popular, especially since most of them have tracking software built in so that a user can enter in goals and track progress. Other people specifically want at-home workouts because they either don’t want to join a gym, or don’t feel comfortable working out in a public environment. That’s where some popular fitness influencers can guide followers to workouts they can perform while they are in the comfort of their own homes.
If you are the owner of a fitness-minded company, and you haven’t explored the world of brand influencer marketing, doing so could take your brand to the next level. For aspiring fitness brand influencers, make sure the brands you post on your profile are congruent with what your followers want to see. As long as you are consistent and honest with your marketing, chances are your brand and your following will steadily grow.
Thigh high boots are part of my signature style…so are thigh high socks!
My friends know that I am obsessed with thigh high boots, but they might not know how much I enjoy wearing different thigh high socks underneath my boots. There is a wild streak in me that gravitates towards fun designs like the ones that Chrissy’s Socks offers, and the best part is that it’s my way of having fun with my personal style. When I’m home, I really enjoy walking around the house in leggings and fun knee high or thigh high socks.
Can you guess which pair of Chrissy’s Socks I might be wearing here?
Which style of Chrissy’s Socks am I wearing here?
Here are the thigh high sock styles which Chrissy’s Socks offers:
A great pair of socks will stay in place, feel great against the skin, and with thigh high boots, help to keep the boots in place so that they don’t slouch or bunch up. Chrissy’s Socks deliver on all counts!
Think about the one thing which is constantly at your side, namely, your phone.
You rely on that small, handheld computer to keep your life in order, so much so that misplacing it sends you into an instant panic. Your LIFE is on that phone, dammit, and if you were to lose it, you would hate to imagine how much its loss would disrupt your life. I am willing to bet that you carry your cell phone everywhere, even into the restroom, which is why cell phones harbor some of the nastiest germs which are found on inanimate objects these days.
Your thumbs assert their special evolutionary spot in the animal kingdom by constantly texting, liking posts, scrolling, and sweeping to the left or right. Unfortunately, that also means gamekeeper’s thumb, an injury to a tendinitis in thumb ligaments is all to common now.
Your relationship with your phone is so tight that you will stare into it even while at dinner with friends, and it will tempt you to fuss with it while driving, despite the dangers associated with driving and texting.
I have a suggestion for you if you are so attached to your phone that it has become a security blanket. Why not leave it at home while you run to the gym? How about leaving it on your desk at work while you use the restroom? Leave it face down on the table when you are having dinner with friends. Avoid looking at it once you have crawled into bed. It won’t be the end of the world if you put your phone down every once in a while.
If I see one more fat-assed female wagging her goodies all over social media and claiming to be a “fit chick”, I swear I will scream. It’s one thing to have a sumptuous, full set of glutes which either Mother Nature was kind enough to dole out or which a consistent glute training routine created. It’s another thing entirely to have a wide, chunky, FAT derriere and pretend that such a poor display of physical fitness can pass off as an awe-inspiring example of hard work and dedication.
Basically, fat-bottomed girls are a dime a dozen these days. I say this boldly because I have seen far too many Instagram accounts which feature women who are amply endowed in the posterior, yet not through hard work and determination, and who think that there is some value in collecting followers simply on the basis of their smutty, slutty images. As was suggested in the Queen song “Fat Bottomed Girls” from 1978, girls who would ordinarily fail to catch the eye of a man who wanted a quality mate would do in a pinch when it came to casual sex. The song celebrates groupies who would never have a chance at being around musical superstars unless they agreed to engage in sexual activities for a night or two.
We now live in an age in which a woman like Kim Kardashian (yes, I am picking on her) is able to attain CELEBRITY STATUS on the basis of questionable criteria:
1. She has a huge derriere, and it isn’t shapely. Well, I guess chunky is a shape.
2. She has a certain amount of sex appeal and isn’t shy about disrobing.
3. She’s rolling in money so she can essentially buy her way to the top.
This begs the question, what is her talent? I challenge EVERY female who possesses surplus adipose tissue in her nether regions and who has a massive social media following simply on the basis of that part of her anatomy to tell me what talent she could possibly have. Because even if she DID have a hidden talent, no male follower on Instagram gives a rat’s ass whether she was a gifted violinist at one point or that she almost completed a masters program in criminal justice.
Have you ever been in a situation in which someone just rubs you the wrong way, and no matter how you try, you just CAN’T get yourself to formulate a positive opinion of the person? This has happened to me many times in my life. More recently, two people have triggered my intense dislike to the point where I had to block one of them on social media. Without disclosing the identities of the people involved, I will merely describe the situations I have experienced with each of them. The situation with the female has been more subtle, and as a result, I have made more of an effort to like her (to no avail). The guy in the second example has been enough of an ass that I am much more adamant about keeping my distance from him.
The female I referenced had been perfectly nice until one bodybuilding contest a couple of years ago in which we competed against each other. Suddenly, I was the enemy, and she became even more disgusted when I placed higher than her. I know she was utterly convinced that she was much hotter, and much more deserving of a higher placing. I was taken aback by her energy but decided to brush it off. Two and a half years later, I cannot bring myself to say hello to her, to like her social media posts, or to offer flattering commentary when someone makes reference to her and asks me what I think of her. I just can’t do it. It all stems from her attitude from that one contest.
As for the fella who rubbed me the wrong way, the pressure to like him stems from the fact that he is romantically tied to one of my dearest friends. I truly WANTED to like him, but from the moment I met him, his energy was so shifty that I took an immediate dislike to him. My gut instinct told me this guy was bad news, yet I knew that my love-struck friend wouldn’t be able to process any comments from me that revealed how I really felt, so I kept my mouth shut. Then an incident occurred in which he hurled an insult at me (peppered with profanity) which was uncalled for. I was so shocked that I became unhinged, and told him exactly how I felt about him. Of course my friend was unfortunately caught up in the middle of that exchange, and our friendship has been adversely affected as a result. I DON’T LIKE THE GUY, and I cannot force myself to feign acceptance and respect for someone I can’t stand.
I believe it is very unhealthy to harbor a hidden dislike for someone. While I understand that one must maintain composure in business settings, I will never compromise my feelings or beliefs, especially when I am treated poorly by someone. If someone doesn’t want to play nice in the sandbox, I will just find another sandbox to play in!
The majority of us can’t even imagine being without our cell phones. The relatively tiny devices we carry around with us now function as GPS devices, marvelous computers which connect us to every part of the world, tie us into a massive information network which we have become entirely reliant on, and also happen to function as the basic communication aids which were originally invented by Italian inventor Antonio Meucci in 1849 (Alexander Graham Bell won the credit in 1876 as a result of winning the first U.S. patent).
Cell phones have become a necessity in modern society, but they have also caused us to develop compulsive behaviors which feed into the irresistible distraction which they present. Though you may deny it, I am willing to bet that you experience a certain level of anxiety if your cell phone battery power winds down, if you lose reception, if you lose a Wifi signal, or are somehow locked out of a website you need to access immediately. We have become so reliant on the immediate gratification which comes with doing a Google search on our Smartphones or iPhones that we have turned into petulant children when glitches occur. We are so dependent on our cellular devices that they have become security blankets.
Whether we like it or not, our reliance on cellular technology makes us less productive and less attentive to ordinary daily tasks. We could be sitting at work, cooking a meal, walking our dogs, or driving to work, while still concerned about what supposedly vital information we are missing by not staring at our phones. God forbid we miss our friends’ Facebook updates or allow our email inboxes to pile up as we try to navigate through a typical day! We are accustomed to having our phones close by at all times, and every time it makes a notification sound, we stop what we are doing to attend to our phones, which draws attention away from what we should really be focused on. Time ticks by, and suddenly, we are distracted from viewing a beautiful sunset. Even if we view that beautiful sunset, we tend to feel a compulsion to record the sunset by taking a picture of it with those confounded phones.
Even when we aren’t at work, our brains must sort through an enormous amount of information from our phones and computers. One 2011 study stated that we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information every single day. And since the brain’s ability to process information is limited, we often end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious as we try to power through all the information being thrown at us. Though the age of social media has enabled us to connect in novel and far-reaching ways, it also robs us of our attention and distracts us from other tasks.
It’s no wonder that the incidence of anxiety in our society has increased dramatically.
There should be a limit on the frequency with which we view social media sites. Be sure to set aside a brief designated time each day to check emails and peruse social media, then PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY. Leave the bulk of each day to relaxing, sightseeing, engaging in outdoor activities, and enjoying life. Trust me, your brain needs a break from the constant influx of technology.
Another disturbing reality about our attachment to cell phones is the false sense of community we feel as a result of social media notifications and texts. The perception is that we are part of a vast network, but the ironic thing is that we tend to access our cell phones while alone. This isolation from actual interaction can actually trigger loneliness and depression. From the moment we wake up until we rest our heads to sleep, our cell phones are always on. They even serve as our alarm clocks now!