Doctors want to know why they should care about social media. Why should they be excited or why should it even cross their mind?
Some of the benefit of social for a doctor is immediate, some comes from hard work and involvement. But a lot of what’s in store for physicians is on the horizon as platforms, applications and communities that connect doctors evolve.
For now, here are a few thoughts on why doctors should care about social media:
It’s how the world communicates. It’s how the medical world will communicate. Real-time, relational communications platforms like Facebook represent the future of communication. 500 million people have figured it out. The medical world will ultimately figure it out. It’s where your patients are and it’s where we need to be.
The world will work with the docs who talk. Those who communicate like the rest of the world will ultimately enjoy a market advantage over those who don’t. Sure, we’re all busy. But those of us delivering service-oriented care will learn soon enough that we have to be onboard. Look for elements of social practice design appearing at a clinic near you.
It’s how you are represented in the community. If you’re not online you are out of mind. The content you create and the footprint you build represents you. Of course we’re defined by what we do in real life. But digital first impressions will go a long way in the creation of confidence in the mind’s eye of a patient.
It’s how you will stay informed. The days of information on paper are numbered. Soon information will be tailored to your needs. The communities you live in and the company you keep will determine the information you get. How you connect will be how you stay informed. It’s how the world is beginning to operate.
You need a human signal. Perhaps the greatest challenge for physicians over the coming decade will be the attention crash. We will be unable to process the information available to us. Social networks will define our human signal. We will depend on those around us to help define what’s important and what isn’t. The majority of my daily reading, for example, comes from a carefully crafted Twitter feed. I hire smart people. If my hive doesn’t think it’s important, it’s probably not important.
The world needs to see us as part of the global dialog. Let’s face it, our profession needs an image makeover. This can be tough when the definition and role of physician as provider is evolving. Either way, as we make the transition over the coming generation the medical community needs to be out there. If each of us shared even small, regular contributions (doctor-doctor, doctor-patient, doctor-policy maker) the impact would be dramatic.
Help me out here. Why should doctors care about social media?