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Making the Most of Social Media

Making the Most of Social Media

Surveys suggest that physicians use social media for personal use at nearly the same rate as the general population. However, when it comes to professional use—namely, the exchange of information and advice with other physicians and patients—physicians tend to be more apprehensive (Figure). With a boom in physician-review websites and an increasingly tech-savvy public, most physicians already have an online reputation that should not be ignored. Managing Online Persona “Many physicians are fearful of using social media because they believe what they say may be misconstrued,” says Enoch Choi, MD, a blogger and social media guru. “Others simply prefer to stay private. Unfortunately, there is plenty of information available online about most physicians, often including personal details, such as a home address or family members’ names.” A recent Pew Internet survey found that 44% of patients research their physicians online. Dr. Choi says physicians should keep this statistic in mind and actively manage their online personas so that the public finds the information they want found. “Flooding the internet with this information through social media engagement can bury personal details,” he says. “It can also limit inaccurate data and negative connotations that can be found among search engine results.” Examining the Social Media Options The various social media platforms (eg, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogging) offer a multitude of benefits, but physicians should focus on their own goals and personalities, according to Dr. Choi. “Facebook is useful for word-of-mouth-type sharing with patients because many of them already use it. Facebook is a convenient tool for many reasons, including the fact that many family members and friends are on...
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