Last month I spoke to a group of physicians about public presence. As serious academics, few of them had any measurable social presence. I’ve done this workshop dozens of times over the past several years and I’m adept at handling digitally naive groups. And during this session the theme was that visibility creates opportunity. Case-based and bolstered with powerful examples, the program was a demonstration of engagement and effect.
But despite my best effort, I drew the response from some that they ‘just don’t see it.’ Predictably, however, many did ‘see it’ and were committed to working the power of public networks after participating in the workshop.
The experience illustrated that there are two kinds of physicians
Local facing physicians see their world from an immediate, IRL perspective. Largely local, they have a network but the connections may happen by more ’traditional’ means. Either they have not seen the value of networked connection or the threshold for activation is too high. Local facing physicians see their connections and care as only within arms reach. Local is how we all were before the social world made everyone connected.
Outward facing physicians recognize the value of presence and connection beyond their immediate physical space. The use of public networks is valued and seen as necessary for professional success. The outward facing doctor sees themselves as part of a bigger picture on some level.
But who cares? Anyone in education or leadership should care. A defining feature of a leader in the networked age will be the capacity and will to look beyond what they can see and touch. The leader of tomorrow will be defined by the ability to create, connect, influence and lead in a new medium. Being outward should be recognized as a positive attribute.
But not everyone sees it that way. Or sees it.
Why physicians prefer to stay local
The failure to turn the lens outward is driven by 3 core elements: fear, literacy, acceptance of value. Fear of perceived threats is a real inhibitor. Understanding the basic steps of using basic social tools (digital literacy) is a common roadblock. Failure to see the value of public engagement is likely the most immediate inhibiting factor. Any one or a combination of these three factors may contribute to a professional maintaining a local presence.
When value exceeds the barrier to entry and perceived risk, doctors stand a chance of looking out. Until then it’s business as usual.
Image via Vestman/Flickr
You might like Are Doctors Too Busy for Social Media? – Written back in 2009 some of the points ring true today. What is The Risk of Not Participating – Physicians assume that the risk is in what we say when it may be greater with our silence.