Social media can be more than a tool to connect with friends and family, said Vineet Chopra, MD, MBBS, FHM, Charlie Wray, DO, and Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, MHM, at Monday’s “Tweet Your Way to the Top? Social Media as a Career Development Tool in Hospital Medicine” session.
Online outreach can play crucial roles in everything from continuing education and research to networking and career advancement, but most of the conversations in medicine are really focused in the Twittersphere, the three hospitalists said.
“Social media has allowed me to connect with leaders in hospital medicine and many other medical communities,” said Dr. Wray, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “It has allowed me to share my work and success with the hospitalist community in addition to highlighting my trainees’ and colleagues’ successes. My engagement has created opportunities to get involved with projects that I could never have previously imagined. And it has extended my networking circle and made annual gatherings like the SHM Annual Conference even more beneficial and high yield for my career.”
For session copresenter Dr. Chopra, associate professor and chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, social media “helps develop your brand and your identity. It is a wonderful way for people to know what you do, who you are, what you stand for, and your views and opinions on various topics.”
On the career front, social media “can connect you to leaders in the community so that they know who you are and what you are accomplishing. So when time comes for you to move on, people within this community will know who you are and what you’re known for at a national level,” said Dr. Wray, who is also deputy digital media editor for the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Sharing on social media – and Twitter in particular – for the medical profession is focused mainly on dissemination of information, engaging in communities, and networking beyond your institution. The three presenters shared tips of the trade during the session, such as how to boost exposure to a tweet by including hashtags, posting photos, and sharing links. To overcome time commitment barriers, tie your Twitter contributions to something you are doing already, said Dr. Arora, associate chief medical officer-clinical learning environment at the University of Chicago.
A presence on social media isn’t just a tool to boost your own profile, Dr. Wray said. It also helps you stay on top of medical news. “There is so much information and new data coming out nowadays, it can be hard to keep up,” he said. “A properly curated social media feed can help a busy clinician stay on top of what is really important. This is an invaluable skill for the modern hospitalist.”
But be careful how much you disclose on social media about yourself and, especially, other people. “A good rule of thumb is: Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your mother to read,” Dr. Chopra said. “As well, sharing any personal or patient information without understanding your institution’s guidelines or obtaining explicit permission is a general no-no,” he said.
“Also, many employers look at social media profiles before they hire people. We certainly do so when we are looking at various individuals. We often call this a ‘Google biopsy.’ ”
Randy Dotinga contributed to this report.
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