First I was studying it, doing some research, immersed but outside, involved but from afar. From my close observation I noted the ways one could be unprofessional. But can you be professional and use social media? Can you tweet and meet others with similar and different viewpoints, have fun, tweet about health promotion and disease prevention, learn, and educate? Definitely!
I felt ready, and a little while back I began tweeting @Kind4Kids. Told the twitterverse that I'm a pediatrician, hold my hand. Chatted a bit (mostly #meded), had a tweet up here and there. Tweeted academic meetings. Workshopped and co-authored on the topic in the peer-reviewed literature.
This week when I lead a faculty development workshop* I'll ask participants to consider their readiness to make use of social media. Are you feeling ready, but you wonder how to take the first (or next) steps? Do you want to find out what all the fuss is about? Are you skeptical about mixing social media with your career as a health care professional, medical educator, trainees, and/or student?
Social media when used well can be a form of engagement that enhances the lives of and learning by health professionals and trainees, ultimately for public good.
Some things to consider:
- Have you developed a rationale for using social media in your academic career?
- Would you recognize your past, present, and future digital identity?
- What have you seen that impresses you or repels you or calls you to action?
- Are you familiar with online professionalism guidelines and can you apply them to your own use?
- What does your institution or employer say?
If you can identify your professional goals for using social media then you can formulate a plan for next steps. And try out Twitter... learn to tweet and tweet to learn (and have some fun) Evidence-informed tweeting, advocacy, education, engagement, reflection, public health, and at times some well-placed humor. *Workshop will occur @GWUHS (the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences) and video-conferenced @childrenshealth (Children's National). Tweet me @Kind4Kids.