Should I really be doing this?

In amongst the medical blogs that I’ve been following are a fair smattering of posts about the whole process of social media and the participation of medical professionals, and particularly physicians.

I have had enough people around me over the last 10 years or so trying to convince me of the negative aspects of the internet in general, and more recently social media specifically. From ‘a waste of time’ to ‘the work of the Devil’ and pretty much everything in between (with the exception, perhaps of internet shopping). On the other hand I’m inherently drawn to the potential of all this. There’s no doubt that a phenomenal amount of information is reaching the internet every minute. Some of this will be new and some rehashed. As far as health and healthcare is concerned some of it will be good information but a lot of it will be less good. Nevertheless, as this post outlines, there is no doubt that all of this information is having an increasing influence on the world of medicine. With all of that in mind David Harlow’s reference to the bank robber Willie Sutton is compelling – if still needing to be tempered with some sound advice as to how we might stay out of court!!

So the divergence of articles on medical participation is of great interest for someone like me who has clearly decided to dip a toe in, although I have to say does not really provide a great deal of solid reassurance that this is all a good idea!

This post is a starting point for those of you that might be interested in delving a little deeper into what this is all about. Those of you following my Tweets will see that I have posted all of these links  but this is a fuller description.

For starters, I admit to only really even beginning to understand what social media actually is over the last few weeks so the insights of @Doctor_V on how we might interact with all of this was of great value ( ). If you have the time or inclination then dipping into the more detailed description of social technographics on which this is based will be of interest.

From there on it is a mixture of exhortations that we should all of us, yes all of us, start a blog in 2012, salutary tales from those whose fingers have been burned mixed with some healthy skepticism about where all this is leading and whether it will do any good.

If you are not put off after all of that then here is some practical advice about how to get on.

So TheLastGeneralCardiologist has taken the plunge – what will you do?

  1. Thanks for the link to my article .. And more important.. Thanks for engaging 🙂 !!

  2. ubpdqn said:

    I think you raise a very important question. Your hyperlinks are instructive in this regard. There are number of motivations for ‘blogging’. Healthcare professional blogging is a subset but has similar diverse motivations: information; networking; collaboration/brainstorming; self-promotion; commerce and many many more. These are not mutually exclusive.

    ‘Success’ depends on what metric one uses and what frame of reference (blogger, reader, community).
    ‘Should’ also begs the question of a moral/ethical/appropriateness framework to measure against. These are interesting philosophical questions.

    From a personal perspective, I applaud the careful and thoughtful engagement of ‘new media’. These are powerful tools that prompt caution.

    Some philosophical ‘ranting’ of mine:

    My personal motivation regarding blogging is to use it as a forum to explore diverse ideas, put various philosophical rants as ways of processing the complex world we live in, to explore the intersection of the physical world, the work world and mathematics using the powerful tool of Mathematica.

    Physicians are passionate, intelligent and creative people. It is inevitable that the new media will be engaged.

    As a final thought, in the spirit of the cause of restoring the focus to the ‘General Cardiologist’, not as a historical footnote but a vital essential species, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln, who expressed. “God loves the common man, that is why he made so many”. This is not derision or devaluation. It is recognition of the need for broad, deep and strong foundations as well a specialised structures that stand on these foundations.

    In a world, where we all fall short of ‘genius’ it may seem that the ‘average’ person has little to offer. David Dobbs provides an interesting article highlighting the importance of hard work and repetition as perhaps more important than innate talents ( ). So here is to the ‘average’ hard working cardiologist. There is a lot to offer patients, students, other disciplines and perhaps engagement through the new media. There is also a lot to learn,

  3. Bravo and well said. It’s the *potential* of social media that fascinates me as well, especially as a newcomer to the medical profession and a relative young’un in general. The possibilities are literally endless, from basic patient education to professional networking – obviously, my experience on the web will be different from a graduated, quote-unquote “professional,” but it will be interesting to see how the idea evolves over the next few years.

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