This comment was posted on Twitter by a physician:
Not referring to anyone specifically but the sentiment that in the era of SoMe it’s all too easy to publicize opinion only w/o doing the hard work of original research. New ideas are great. New ideas that are appropriately tested are even better.
This is something that I’ve seen more of lately. I think of it as a authority creep. As more physicians of the right name and rank appear in public spaces, they carry with them a dated sense of authority concerning who is deserving of an opinion.
A couple of thoughts:
My voice is not a function of what you think is worthy. It’s funny that those physicians who for many years avoided social engagement now want to shape themselves as the arbiters of what constitutes appropriate public conversation. But my voice is not a function of what you think is worthy. Permission-based thinking marked the first few hundred years of medicine’s history. Not so much anymore.
Publication is the beginning of peer review. The insight that comes with publicized opinions represents a new type of post-publication peer review. It used to be that publication represented something of an endpoint or hard stop. Increasingly it’s the beginning of a process of public oversight and review important in determining what’s relevant. And the conversation does not belong to those who have created the research.
As I suggested in 2011 in Physician Thought Leaders in the Digital Age:
In medicine it used to be that few physicians spoke and the rest listened. But ability of the physician audience to have the mike allows those previously shut out to become influential. Solid thinking no longer needs permission to be shared. Expect to see regular doctors emerge as influential not based on their connections within ‘the society,’ but on the strength and novelty of their ideas. Old world connections within dated institutions will hold weight only with those desperately banding together, unwilling to do anything different.
Image modified via Maxim Mogilevskiy on Flickr