We sing the praises of physician connection. But maybe it isn’t for everyone. Here are 6 signs (for physicians) that social media is not for you:
1. You hate what you do. Social involvement requires some degree of passion for what you’re discussing. If you’re unhappy at medicine and you’re generally an angry sort you might keep things to yourself. Unless of course you’re passionate about creating a community of angry doctors.
2. You are a paranoid, risk-averse milquetoast. Every now and again I bump into a doctor who tells me about all the trouble I could be getting myself into. And they usually have a hundred ideas why I need to keep my door shut. Open dialog requires something of a leap of faith. In order to make any of this work you need to live without the looming belief that every post is a lawsuit-in-waiting. Tweet smart but understand the real risk-benefit (Note: Greg Matthews used the word milquetoast in a tweet last week so I felt challenged to use it myself).
3. You work 170 hours a week. Sure social media takes time. And yes, this can be a challenge if you work 170 hours a week. But there are some really useful ways you can be social as a doctor on a time budget. For starters, limiting your social properties and your connections. Small and real is better than nothing at all. I think I’ll stop there and turn this one into a post for tomorrow. Or the next day.
4. You want to hire someone to do it. I recently tried to sell one of my fertility friends on developing a presence for himself. He was really interested but at the end he winked and said, “Send me some info. I’ll have my girls get on it.” Oiy. Colleagues and patients want you, not your logo, office manager, or your “girls.” If you can’t do at least some of it yourself you should reconsider doing it at all.
5. You don’t need the patients. Boutique specialties see social as part of their personal branding strategy. And for good reason. But let’s face it, unless you’re banding stomachs or peddling bioequivalent hormones, you’ve probably got your hands full with more than enough patients. Internists don’t think about their personal brand, footprint or outreach. What they do think is how their going to keep the lights on after the Government slashes Medicare.
6. You don’t want anyone to know what you think. Admittedly, public dialog done right requires some degree of disclosure. If you’re averse to anyone knowing what you are thinking, what you believe, or what (God forbid) you may be passionate about, you may just as well hide securely under your exam table and leave the dialog to the rest us.
But in the end, you may not have a choice. When I crowdsourced suggestions for this post on Twitter, @rudxandra made the point that the use of social media is becoming no longer optional. It is, as she put, “a mandatory transformation in order to evolve as a society.”
Now I can’t beat that.
Talk amongst yourselves.