Why I am Not on Social Media
Facebook was really taking hold as THE social media platform during my residency, both of which began in 2004. I will admit that I was too busy, tired and overwhelmed to think about setting up a Facebook page at that time. It was just one more thing to have to maintain. It didn’t help that I also remember hearing about a patient asking to “friend” an attending neurosurgeon. At that time, my decisions about engaging in social media was purely about protecting personal time. As a resident, I definitely did not want to worry about the hospital creeping into my personal time (or personal webpage).
After the rigors of residency were behind me, I reconsidered setting up a Facebook account but I never got around to it. Honestly, I prefer the more personal interaction of connecting directly. I did finally get a twitter account, and follow a few threads, though I have never sent a tweet. I also live a bit vicariously through my husband’s Facebook page.
Over the last several years, social media has evolved. It has transformed into a mechanism for professional development and outreach to potential clients. It can be used to develop one’s brand, and can be used to highlight important issues in a physician’s field. This requires careful cultivation and continuously generating new content. It provides an opportunity to reach a broader audience and share personal, nuanced views.
Despite these opportunities, time limitations remain an issue. The challenges I see for successful engagement in social media are:
- It is hard to become a voice in your field via infrequent social media posts.
- A potentially impactful pearl can easily get lost amongst an overwhelming volume of information.
- The era of rapid review and constant criticism discourages honest commentary.
- Despite the best of intentions, a comment can be interpreted in unexpected ways.
- Every tweet and post must be perfect lest the “offending” individual be shutdown, rather than a deeper conversation being spurred.
Perhaps I am cutting myself and my patients short of an opportunity. But for now, I will continue to enjoy direct personal interactions where no translation or additional context is needed.
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