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It makes me very annoyed (well really pissed off) that some Twitter users identify themselves as physicians, psychologists, lawyers, nurses, etc., in their Twitter bios or screen names and do not identify themselves by actual name.

If you are going to claim PROFESSIONAL credibility for your PROFESSIONALLY-oriented tweets then tell us your name. If you must remain anonymous for whatever reasons, do not put your professional qualifications into your screen name or bio and act like you are professionally qualified to render factual and accepted information rather than a WAG (wild ass guess).

I think that this is a special problem for physicians and other healthcare providers. There are many on the Internet who are searching for information about untreatable, incurable diseases as well as how to control their depression or rage or addiction or how much aspirin to give an infant. A screen name implying professional qualifications when you do not state who you are misleads people looking for help.

Oh, I know, you put a statement in a Twitter statement that says something like “all Tweets are not XYZ advice.” That goes 15% of the way, but the reality is that a lot of people are going to believe what you tweet because they are desperate for information that their own doctor will not provide because there is no definitive answer.

If you cannot put your actual name on a Twitter account, then you have no business putting your professional credentials (be they MD, PhD, MSW, LCSW, JD, Dr, etc.) in your screen name or bio. If you want to be anonymous, so be it, but then you should not be anonymously providing information that will be taken as more definitive because you have those magic words or acronyms in your bio or screen name.

I do not give psychological or medical advice because I am not a licensed treatment provider. I do evaluate research, an imprecise science, but it is a professional activity and I have a relevant professional degree and a lot of experience.

While my screen name in Twitter does not include my FULL name, my actual name is attached to the account and you can see it any time by clicking the screen name. My curriculum vitae (professional resume) is on the Internet as is a website that discusses what I think I know and what I think I do not know. I am a Fellow of the two primary psychological associations in the USA and you can check their directories to see if I am correctly stating my credentials. My professional degrees and licensure are listed on my CV and website and you can confirm if what I say is correct. I am on Linkedin which contains much professional information, all of which can be fairly easily confirmed on the Internet or in the rare case where the information is not electronic, by a telephone call.

Without your name, you could, after all be –


Including a “real looking name” is no guarantee — of course — that someone actually has professional degrees and experience that are claimed and even Frank or Bedsheet (above) may say he is Dr Joe Smith, MD, PhD, nice guy. But in most cases the names will be true and can be verified.

Will I still follow and retweet Twitter accounts that do not list actual names. YES. But if I do I make significant efforts to determine the real person making the comments (yes, the Internet is a powerful tool for this).

I urge all who do not use their actual name but do state their “professional credentials” to start to use their actual name.