Social Media in Academic Medicine

The inspiration for this post came from a Twitter chat on the theme of Social Media in Academic Medicine on the “meded” chat, on Thursday 2-16-2012

Social media is definitely integrated into today’s culture. So many young people are using social media. In addition, a quicly growing demographic in social media is actually those in their 40s-50s. Despite this impressive growth, social media has not, in my opinion, made its way into mainstream academic medicine yet. Certainly papers have been written on the topic of social media in medical schools, but much of the focus has been on professionalism around using social media, and less on what positives social media can bring to medicine.

With regards to social media in academia, however, the growth is slow. Promotion of faculty in academia on the strength of a portfolio focusing on social media is currently probably not that common. But should it become more common in the future? Will physicians who choose to be engaged in social media for purposes of promoting medical education or medicine consider this as their main “scholarship”? And what about the physician who chooses to blog on medical topics (which can provide quality information on the internet to counteract some questionable medical material that currently exists)? Is that something to put on a dossier? Surely it can attract an audience, and can provide useful information to patients and those interested in health.

Finally, as we talk about the hidden curriculum in medicine often, how should the academic physician who is “laughed at” or “taunted” for tweeting or blogging react when she hears: “You are wasting your time with that social media stuff.” (you can probably ascertain that indeed I have heard this quote more than once)

I have my opinions, and would love to hear yours. I will leave you with a few articles on Social Media in the academic arena.

Professors like social media more than other educational technology

How higher education uses social media

Social Media Footprint for Academics

A doctor's reputation vs a hospital's responsibility: Social Media


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