Should Online Favors From People We Hardly Know Be Acceptable?

Should Online Favors From People We Hardly Know Be Acceptable?

Favors are becoming increasingly common online. When will we learn this in a space where we don't actually know each other and normalize saying no?

Verbatim, from our FB group, an anonymous question (poster agreed to share this in our anonymous section, and followed it up with a writeup):

“I’ve been asked to do someone a favor one too many times.

I’m active on social media and have a decent following. I recognize that with that following, I serve as conduit for people’s products and services. But I’m really tired of getting asked to do colleagues favors. To spread the word. To be “honored” with placement in the exposure committee for your stuff. It’s tiring. It’s pretty obvious I’m being used.

Anyone else frustrated with these common questions today, and how do handle them?”

– find the original thread here, in our doctors-only group, in order to comment in a space with physicians only. Otherwise, if you’d like to submit your thoughts individually, submit here.


It always starts innocently, with a favor.

“Can you do me a favor?”

We laugh about it in movies, or our favorite comedy shows. But we cringe when it happens in real life.

More and more, as we connect with each other online, we’re seeing favors asked.

A lot.



Should Online Favors From People We Hardly Know Be Acceptable? Click To Tweet



Here’s the thing that disturbs me about this new phenomenon.

Why do I owe anyone a favor, when they’re just a contact online?

Do I know you?

Have we meet in person, spent even a single full day together or shared a laugh?

Have you experienced anything with me?

Worst, for me, are these physician community that’s divided us all into factions, where everyone “becomes friends” really, really fast.

And then, at the snap of a finger, they aren’t.

Favors are a dime a dozen in these spaces, with people asking each other for support without a second thought.



Why do I owe anyone a favor, when they're just a contact online? Do I know you? Have we meet in person, spent even a single full day together or shared a laugh? Click To Tweet



It worries me.

Do you really know that a book is fantastic when someone asks you to promote it?

Do you know that a blog has been set up for the right reason?

That someone who claims to be altruistic is, in fact, what he or she says they are?

So how can I do you the favor to promote you, or your words, or your work, when we’ve never actually met before?


I’m seriously asking this and would like to know how all of you, physicians who regularly engage on social media, can accurately discern who’s who.


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Sherita D. Gaskins-Tillett, MD

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