Is There a Physician Mandate to Connect?


The more popular Twitter becomes, the more we hear about the mandate to participate.  Those of us who’ve made the step feel like we’ve discovered something that everyone should do.  We want our friends and coworkers to jump in with us.  In the corporate communications world there’s a shortsighted trend to ‘make CEO’s use Twitter.’  The same pressure can be seen among medical professionals.

The decision to tweet, blog or record should be made on value.  Those of us trained to think in the analog era have a hard time seeing the value of networked knowledge and communication.  The physician’s comfort zone is the silo of the clinic.  Our understanding of professional connection is limited to the doctor’s lounge, hospital hallway or, at best a listserve.  Our understanding of health teaching is limited to the 7 minute face-to-face encounter delivered under the harsh glare of UV lights.

But there are 50 ways to use something like Twitter to make your world, or the world of those around you, a better place.  YouTube’s potential application in health care is limited only by the imagination.  While no one has to use any of these tools, believing that Twitter is only a place to share what you’re eating for breakfast is to live with your head in the sand.

We can’t value what we don’t understand.  And we’ll only understand what something can offer by poking at it and trying it in different ways. The world is increasingly networked.  And when you find the right place to connect, share and create, you’re likely to find value.