Social Media Sadness

This afternoon Scott Kier (@MedicSBK) asked the following on Twitter:

Question for the masses: Just because you “Follow” someone on Twitter, does that mean you support their cause/beliefs?

My initial reaction was, “Of course not!” I believe that maintaining an interest in a person’s views and statements can be valuable without implying endorsement. It’s a ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ sort of thing.

Then something changed. Shortly after Scott’s tweet, my timeline slapped me. A self-identified EMS professional re-tweeted a blatantly homophobic tweet from another paramedic. This tweet referred to on-duty, patient care related conduct.

I won’t say I was shocked. -Isms and -phobias are alive and well in the real world, but these people lacked the most important -ism: professionalism. I was left doubting the integrity and judgement of both.

I don’t care what consenting adults do in their own time as long as I don’t have to pay for it. If you care, that’s your business too. Leave it at home. We have a job to do, and we don’t get to pick our patients.

I was left feeling guilty by association. I can’t change these people; I can change my association with them.

Should it matter who I follow and read? No.

Does it matter? Yes.

Will I keep following this person? Right now I’m not sure.


Scott is an EMS supervisor and author of EMS in the New Decade. In the grand scheme of life he lives pretty close to me, but we have never met.