Once restricted to peer-review journals as their sole means of sharing ideas, every doctor on the planet is a now a potential publisher. Here’s why doctors should embrace the democratization of media:
1. It’s how you understand you. Writing will make you a better communicator. Writing forces you to shape what you think. Until you shape your logic and launch it, it’s hard to know what you think.
2. It’s how they understand us. You could argue that the medical profession has an image problem. This, of course, is ours to fix. We can shape the conversation about our profession or someone else will.
3. It’s our job. On some level, writing and making media should be seen as part of what we do as citizens of the Information Age. Not only is it how we’re understood, it’s how we’ll help others understand. Doctor means teacher.
4. There’s more to this than words. Written copy is the most popular format for doctors. But writing is only one kind of media. There’s audio, video, images, infographics, slide share and more.
5. There’s more to write than health and medicine. Many of us live under the belief that the only thing we can write about is health and disease. Try politics, policy, advocacy, design, tech. There are lots of ways to make an impact beyond basic health information.
6. Because if you write it they will come. When people see your thinking they will want to talk to you. Collaborators, patients, colleagues, funding bodies, policy makers, the main stream media and leaders. And when people talk to you, things happen.
7. Writing (publicly) is how leaders lead. Shaping a position, stating your case, and making your ideas publicly accessible is mission critical for anyone with responsibility. Whether you’re practicing in a small community or leading a national health system, physician leaders must know how to communicate and write for today’s digital environment. The smartest leaders will leverage new media for public good and the good of their tribes.
Want ideas on how to put your writing into public action? Grab yourself a copy of The Public Physician. It’s free and full of lots of good ideas about why and where you should put your writing.
Image via IrishEyes on Flickr