Recently I was preparing to give a talk related to the future of medicine. With my speaker information I decided to break ranks a bit and submit a photo that was altered to offer a slightly technochic look. I thought it was in line with the subject matter and set the tone for the presentation.
“We’d really like a more traditional image…like the other doctors you see pictured on our site.”
Yes, of course.
Not surprising. I’m used to the fact that we like our doctors one way. Uniform, controlled and kept. And certainly there’s a role for consistency, tidiness and order when it comes to the cultivation of patient confidence. But I think this issue of image is at the core of what makes us nervous about democratized media and the voice of the individual doctor. Here in these spaces doctors aren’t processed the way we’ve been accustomed to since the dawn of mass media. The AMA and the public relations office of the local hospital traditionally chose our images and quotes for “the press.” Everything was fashioned to fit a certain belief about how we should look and behave. This processed, mainstream media physician design reinforced our look and feel for the next generation.
But here we’re more natural. A doctor’s image isn’t controlled by anyone but the doctor. We individually reap the rewards and pay the price for public visibility.
It’s interesting that I used to think doctors shouldn’t have purple hair. Then I wrote about it and drew the opinions of doctors with purple hair. It changed the way I see purple haired doctors.
All this dialog is a good thing. It makes us less processed, more free range.