“The last thing you want showing up on your Facebook wall,” she said, “is a headline that reads, ‘Do you have a turkey neck?’ ”

After resisting at first, I joined Facebook this year, and started following what my friends were doing and saying. Now I know what’s for dinner at my medical school roommate’s home, whose kids are having birthdays and what I missed last night on TV. I must confess, I check Facebook daily as part of my routine, and it has renewed friendships with people I rarely get to see in person.

So it only made sense to open a practice page to share all the great services and specials going on in my cosmetic surgery practice. I designed the page to match our website and tried to post a daily special or interesting article. I linked the page to my blog, and even opened a Twitter account. One of my patients who specializes in social media marketing was convinced this was the new way to stay in contact with other patients. Facebook, not emails or newsletters, was the wave of the future.

The first week 100 of my friends “liked” my page, and since then I have rarely gained a follower. We placed Facebook ads, asked patients to “like” the page when we sent out newsletters, and even personally told patients and friends about the page. Nothing.

Finally, Dr. Vessely, my office partner confessed that even she no longer “liked” the page on her personal Facebook account. “I was embarrassed to have cosmetic surgery information on my wall, and that is what I do for a living!” Another close friend also admitted her embarrassment – having a cosmetic surgery clinic posting on your wall is like leaving a Botox receipt on your coffee table. Does grandma really need to know I am interested in cosmetic surgery? “The last thing you want showing up on your Facebook wall,” she said, “is a headline that reads, “Do you have a turkey neck?’ ”

Cosmetic surgery is very popular and nothing to be ashamed of – but it is personal. I now realize that most patients like to visit our website at their convenience, or read a newsletter from their private email account, but they do not want the newest facelift procedure featured on their personal Facebook wall for all their friends to read. While Facebook is personal, it really is no longer private. We still have a practice Facebook page, and I still post information for patients that follow us – but I don’t take it personally when someone chooses not to publicly like the page. I also don’t take it personally when a happy facelift patient pretends not to know me at a social function. Everyone deserves privacy, and friendships are still valued, even if they are not publicly proclaimed.