A friend recently came to me with a concern. Her former OB/Gyn had approached her with a request to be a friend on Facebook. It was a request that made my acquaintance uncomfortable because she felt that the relationship with her doctor had been a professional one, not a friendship.

In many ways, today’s social networking systems are wonderful tools, bringing people together — and no longer just the domain of teenagers. Adult Internet users participating in online social networks quadrupled from 8 percent to 35 percent between 2005 and 2008. Lenhart, Amanda: “Adults and Social Network Web Sites.” Pew Internet and American Life Project (Jan. 14, 2009). But these networking systems raise a set of issues that require us to think about confidentiality and professionalism in a new way.

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