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  • My Turn

    August 01, 2014

    Social Media: Not Just for Your Children

    To many, the phrase ‘social media’ conjures up visions of teenagers posting about their favorite pop star or athlete. Arguably, that’s what social media represented 10 years ago. At that time, when I joined Facebook, it seemed nothing more than a website to connect with classmates. And while there are still plenty of students using it to message one another with the latest buzz, social media have matured a lot since then.

    Today, I am not only a user of Facebook, but also Twitter and LinkedIn. Radiologists and entire organizations are using it to cultivate and solidify professional relationships, keep abreast of and discuss the latest advances in their field, interact with patients and promote their brand.

    Any discussion of social media invariably turns into a conversation about privacy. These concerns make many apprehensive, including myself, from time to time. In real life, we have a tendency to separate our professional and personal lives, and the same partition should follow online while navigating social media. Akin to conversations in a hospital elevator, posting or discussing patient information is prohibited. By following these overarching rules, my uneasiness about crossing privacy boundaries was assuaged.

    For a radiology resident, and from the educational standpoint in general, social media can afford a unique opportunity to develop a controlled online presence and to discuss recent publications with other residents and faculty physicians from around the world, and continue conversations which began at conferences. Forging professional relationships is crucial as I complete my training and start a career, and social media are playing a strong role.

    Many radiology departments and organizations use social media as part of their marketing efforts. Others see it as an opportunity to inform and engage with patients. To me, all are good things and should be encouraged, as they increase the visibility of our specialty.

    Social media can be a beneficial and professionally enriching experience for anyone, regardless of age, career stage, or type of radiology practice.

    Read the story, “Physicians Connect, Problem Solve Through Social Media,” here.

    Tirath Y. Patel, M.D.
    Tirath Y. Patel, M.D., is a radiology resident at the University of Toledo Medical Center and a member of the RSNA News Editorial Board. Find him on Twitter at @TirathPatelMD
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