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Entries in Social Networking (10)

Friday
Feb242012

Google +: A Refreshing Chapter In Social Media

While hesitant to try yet another Social Media platform, I have left thousands of Facebook fans behind for Google + (and so should you...)!

I know, I know, another social media platform is about all you need to read about these days. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest to Instagram to Foursquare, it always seems as if there is another "latest" and "greatest" social media platform to pay attention to. But, trust me when I say this, I think Google + is THE one to pay attention to. And here are some reasons why:

1) Google is the largest search engine on the planet: from a networking aspect, using Google + only helps your efforts. Google is putting a lot of time and energy into building Google + into the very best social media platform. As such, they are giving a lot of weight to Google + from an SEO perspective. If you are looking to help your brand (whatever that is) than jump on board to Google +.

2) Facebook is CLOSED, while Google + is OPEN: Yes, you can certainly have many different Facebook accounts and manage all of those pages, but why not choose Google + and have just one account. Google + allows you to post information and messages to certain circles or even make anything you want public.

3) Google + Circles make managing ALL of your friends, family, colleagues and associates super easy: just choose one circle or multiple circles for anyone, the choice is yours. By utilizing the Circles approach, managing any and all of your “audience” becomes super easy and intuitive.

4) Follow people, like Twitter, but have more options for connecting: Twitter is fine to catch quick tidbits here and there, but with the restricted 140 character limit, you certainly are limited in how you connect. Why not choose Google + and follow just like you do on Twitter but also have as much room and space to post, reply and share!

5) Google + is very visual: much of the information shared on Google + are photos and videos and this makes sense given how well we communicate with YouTube and even Pinterest. We all get the sense that the future of online interactions is through videos and Google + makes sharing videos back and forth a cinch.

6) Google Hangouts are great for quick (or long) video chats: want to have a weekly discussion group with your patients or host a cooking class, utilize Google + Hangouts and you will see how easy it is to connect with whoever you want to by video.

7) You are likely using something on Google, so.....: most of us have Gmail accounts, search the internet through Google, use YouTube or some other Google app on a daily basis. By having a Google + account, you can easily and seamlessly share information, message and broadcast anything on the internet in the simplest of ways. Google + is intuitive and to me feels so much better than Facebook or Twitter ever did.

There are plenty of other reasons to start a Google + account. From what I can gather by who is active on Google + right now, this is the social media platform of the future.

A personal request: I am trying to form a physician’s Google + Circle--one where we can share back and forth and communicate with each other on this platform. I would love it if you Followed me and let me know that you are interested in joining. I am hoping to use Google + to host physician Hangouts where we can get to know each other better.

If interested, check out my Google + page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105805860750647129686/about/p/pub

I would love to hear your feedback and comments about how you are utilizing social media and what you think about Google +!

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

What challenges do you face utilizing the plethora of Social Media Platforms?

Wednesday
Sep282011

Is Social Media Worth Investing Your Time And Energy?

With the spreading of social media into nearly every aspects of our lives, it is worth pausing and reflecting upon their value.

Are you tweeting yet? Posting to your Facebook wall? How about connecting through LinkedIn? How big is your cirlce in Google+? With the onslaught of social media, there is mounting pressure to join each network, manage conections and monetize these various social media outlets. It seems as if social media has become the dominant measuring stick for how well you are doing as a business and how well you are connecting with others.

And while I think social media is something to be embraced, I do not think every outlet is for every person. Nor do I believe that social media serves as any type of barometer in your life (professional and personal). In fact, I think the more you are selective about where you garnish your social media energy and attention, the better you can use social media to your advantage.

Before I get to the specifics of the most popular social media outlets, I want you to come away from this article with one main point: social media presence does NOT equate to success. There is a lot of advice coming at us telling us to join all of the social media networks, trying to convince us that the only way to grow our business and connect with people is by creating these various outposts/hubs to connect with others.

The truth remains, however, that most of the time you can spend a lot of time and energy creating and maintaining these various social media outlets without actually realizing much results. And so while we embrace social media in medicine and beyond, we need to be cognizant as to the actual role of each social media outlet is providing for us. I think a better perspective is "what can I do for social media" not "what can social media do for me".

Let's review the major social media outlets. For each I will give you my personal experience and opinion:

1. Facebook: with over 500 million users, Facebook has become THE largest social media outlet. I read an article today that said the biggest competitor to Apple is now Facebook. Same goes for who competes with Google. Most of us are familiar with Facebook on the personal side. But I wanted to focus on the professional side--Facebook Fan Pages. I currently have two separate FB Fan pages: one for the clinical side of life and one for my consulting side.

The clinical side (Organic Medicine Now) was easy to build and grow. I post my personal blog posts to this FB Fan Page, ask my fans questions and interact. Within a few months of starting my Organic Medicine Now FB fan page I had over 3000 fans. I was excited about this, indeed. I was making a small dent with all of my followers. Really? Sure, it is fun to see fan numbers grow and it is great to get feedback from fans about my blog posts and comments, but what purpose is this fan page really serving? To date, I don't have a good answer. I fully understand the concept of being able to broadcast information about my practice and my views, but I can tell you that I do not think I have gotten any new patients because of my FB wall or sold any of my supplements to any fans. So the obvious question is why continue to put my energy into something that is not leading to any results ? For me, I initially thought my FB wall would help grow my practice, but I now view this differently. Now, I understand that my FB wall is for me to share my opinions and to interact with my fans. As such, I do not spend a great deal of time on my FB wall.

My consulting FB fan page is just getting started, but I am more excited about this one. It is called New Rules of Medicine and it is a place where I am trying to host a discussion about ways we can improve modern medicine. I see this FB fan page not as a way to promote my business, but as a means to host this discussion. Last week after getting my settings squared away I wanted to notify my colleagues about my new FB fan page. I thought about blasting out a mass email asking people to LIKE the page and spread the word. But this did not feel right, so I sent out personal emails to about 50 or so colleagues. Did that work to grow and spread my New Rules of Medicine FB fan page? Not really. I had a few colleagues jump on and LIKE my page. I now have 10 fans. Woohoo! But I have to start somewhere, and now I understand that the role of my FB fan page is to host a discussion, not promote a product. So even though this fan base is going to take a lot longer to build, it will be more worthwhile. 

In summary, I think Facebook can be a valuable tool for your business. But please understand there is ever growing pressure for people to LIKE your page without that meaning much. Please be sure you are not putting too much energy into Facebook without seeing results. 

2. Twitter: Twitter is appealing to many people as you can gain a huge following quickly without having to invest much time and energy. The appeal to Twitter, I think, is like text messaging--you can communicate without having to write much at all. 

I tried Twitter and hated it. I started gaining fans and following people and companies I was interested in. But after several months, I realized there was no point in me providing updates to what I was doing or even interacting with other Twitter users. I saw zero return for the time and energy I invested.

I think Twitter has a role if you are hosting a conference and want to be able to quickly broadcast messages to attendees. But trying to promote your business or personal life via tweets seems counterproductive to me. I like being able to connect with people by writing and interacting, but Twitter really limits that ability. Again, I think Twitter can help you broadcast information, but pales in comparison to Facebook which offers the same capabilities and a whole lot more.

3. LinkedIn: deemed the social network for professionals, LinkedIn seems to be steadily growing in popularity. I have recently opened a LinkedIn account, but to date do not see how using LinkedIn is much different than Facebook. Certainly I can connect with other like-minded professionals and network accordingly, but to me, LinkedIn represents another time sucking arena created to help people network and not much else.

This goes to the heart of these social media outlets--are you using them to just network and promote yourself OR are you utilizing them to host, lead and moderate the issues and values you created your business around? To me, the latter is so much more important as I feel that everyone is trying to network somehow and I would much rather be the host at the dinner party than the attendee just trying to pass out business cards. LinkedIn feels like a place to go to pass out business cards and so it does not have much appeal to me at this point.

4. Google+: Google+ seems promising because of how much energy and resources Google is placing into this new network. I also like how you can create different circles of people to share information with based upon your own tags that you assign. So for someone like me who leads two separate discussions (clinical and consulting) where the two do not overlap, Google+ seems to offer promise. 

Google has brilliantly become the leader in search engines and their Ad Words is a phenomenal marketing program, so I expect similar results from Google+. Since they are the latest kid on the block, I am not sure if they will be able to dig into the influential arenas that Facebook and Twitter have developed. But Google+ feels like a place where one can share information and lead discussions and for those reasons, I am looking forward to learning more.

5. You Tube: I am including You Tube here as a social network because I think video represents the most potential for the future of social media connecting. You Tube is now enormous and because we are all enamored with video, I think being a part of You Tube is a must for businesses looking to network, promote and lead discussions. 

So far, most of us use You Tube as a place to share information. We create videos of ourselves talking about our services and products. Video is a great medium to relay information because we can be much more creative with video (sounds, music, movement, etc.) compared to written text. 

But I don't think we have even begun using video like we will be in five years from now. If I have any advice for you, it is to learn about video production and how to make that work for your business. Creating a You Tube Channel is easy to do and only takes a few moments. 

I have not created many videos for my You Tube channel in a while as I have enjoyed taking a break and writing, but I plan on getting back to video creation and editing very soon. In fact, I think that video-casting is going to be something I do more than writing in the near future. Video is that powerful a tool and I encourage you to explore this medium.

With all of the above being said, I think the key questions are this: what suits your personality? what suits the goals of your business, your personal life? 

You have to be able to answer those questions before you can go using social media outlets. Because if you don't, these different social media outlets can take up a lot of your time. To me, I break it down as follows:

  • Blogging: my favorite way to share my thoughts, comments and opinions
  • Facebook: my favorite way to broadcast information and host discussions
  • Twitter: not suited to my personality or goals and therefore I do not participate
  • LinkedIn: seems to be like a big arena to pass around business cards, but not much else
  • Google+: seems to be moving social media in a good direction; too early to tell if I will be able to utilize
  • You Tube: represents video distribution and the future of social media

What social media outlet do you like to use? Why? We would all love to hear your experiences!

Saturday
Jun182011

Visualize Your LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn Network Map

Visualizing your business network can give you some interesting insights about where your connections are.

This is a map of my personal network on LinkedIn. (You'll see me in the middle there.)

What I find most interesting is that large blue mass to the the left. Those links are to individuals who are entrepreneurs, angel investors and startup guys. The green links are the same but differ in location from what I can see. The pinkish links to the right are my current connections through Freelance MD.

If you're looking for a nonclinical job or building any business on the side, your business network is the place you'll start.

Join the Freelance MD Group on LinkedIn here

Get your own LinkedIn network map here

Friday
Jun102011

Pam Wible's Using Youtube To Promote Ideal Medical Care

Dr. Pam Wible's casting a long shadow by using Youtube to get her message out about community design and involvement with healthcare's many issues.

Here are some of Pams videos.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar192011

59 Top Physician Blogs Worth Reading

While the majority of physicians haven't exactly embraced the rise of social media, here are some of the physician thought leaders who have.

The following blogs are not listed in any order but randomly placed in a general category. We've intentionally not linked to any blogs that have no recent posts and aren't currently active. If there's a blog that should be included in this list, please list it in the comments of this post.

Note: If you're looking for the blogs of our contributing authors, you can find links to them all next to their contributing authors bios.

Medicine & Specialties

These doctors write about outside interests, but their individual specialties tend to be their blogs focus.

  1. ExpedMed: On Wilderness Medicine if you're in to adventuresome CME.
  2. Uncommon Student MD: Student doctors in medical school and residency.
  3. Doctor Anonymous: Passionate about medicine and social media.
  4. Dr Helen: A forensic psychologist commenting on popular culture, politics and psychological issues.
  5. A Life In The Day Of A Basics Doc: This roadside doctor handles trauma and writes about his experiences. Sobering and riveting.
  6. Dr. Grumpy: This docs sick of patient shenanigans, the stupidity of insurance companies, and the daily insanity.
  7. Movin' Meat: This Pacific Northwest physician posts stories of ER drama and healthcare reform issues will make you think.
  8. Doc Gurley: A board-certified Internist physician and the only Harvard Medical School graduate to have been awarded a Shoney’s Ten-Step Pin for documented excellence in waitressing.
  9. A Life In The Day Of A Basics Doc: A a blow-by-blow account of accident scenes, including shattered glass and drunk drivers.
  10. MDOD: A collective of physicians from diverse specialties, all writing under pseudonyms, this blog shares case studies and humorous stories from work.
  11. 33 Charts: Bryan Vartabedian, M.D. blog focused on pediatric health and social media
  12. High Tech Surgeon: If you’re curious about the latest technology or the possibility of surgery performed by a robot, this blog is for you. Written by a general surgeon grounded in the practical applications of these innovations.
  13. Clinical Correlations: NYU Department of Medicine educational site inspiring both new and seasoned physicians alike that internal medicine is much more than a job.
  14. Cacoethes Cognitum: Group site who make a pastime of turning medical cases and discussions into medically irrelevant history lessons, philosophical rants, and displays of one-upsmanship.
  15. At Your Cervix: (Best Name) RN blog about your cervix and stuff.
  16. Respectful Insolence: A pseudonymous surgeon/scientist concerning medicine and quackery, science and pseudoscience, history and pseudohistory.
  17. Mothers In Medicine: A group blog by physician-mothers, writing about the unique challenges and joys of tending to two distinct patient populations, both of whom can be quite demanding.
  18. Bioethics Discussion Blog: Once a week or so, Dr. Bernstein offers a blog entry of varying interests, always in the world of bioethics.
  19. Docnotes: Health, technology, family medicine and other observations.
  20. The Dermatology Blog: All about skin care written by a dermatologist.
  21. Buckeye Surgeon: Ruminations by a non-academic general surgeon from the heart of the rust belt.
  22. Clinical Cases and Images: CasesBlog: This blog offers health news, updated daily, by a former Cleveland Clinic assistant professor of medicine.
  23. Doctor David’s Blog: Follow the musings of a pediatric oncologist.
  24. Dr. Deb: This lady is all business. She’s a psychologist specializing in trauma and depression and uses her blog for educating the public.
  25. Dr. Len’s Cancer Blog: Dr. Lichtenfeld is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society.
  26. Gruntdoc: A highly popular blog written by a doctor who once served in the U.S. Navy.
  27. RangelMD: Learn more about sickness with a dash of cynicism from this highly popular doctor’s blog.
  28. Aggravated Doc Surg: Takes on massive chunks of history to explain how the medical system ended up in such a mess. Posts are detailed and well-researched, but it’s the punchy writing that keeps you engaged.
  29. Retired Doc’s Thoughts: Although some entries focus on health care debates, the focus here is on internal medicine, endurance training, exercise and gerontology.
  30. Suture for a Living: Although this plastic surgeon is into ‘stitches’ in quilts as well as on bodies, the focus is more on medicine and health than on sewing.
  31. California Medicine Man: Medical issues in the news. California Medicine Man is a physician and assistant professor at UCLA.
  32. The Underwear Drawer: This is a personal online journals os an anesthesiology resident in Atlanta and “what happens next.”
  33. A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure: Analysis on issues relevant to surgeons, from insurance to policy.

Healthcare & Medical Issues

These blogs are focused on healthcare, managment and how it all works (or doesn't).

  1. Life As A Healtcare CIO: Life in the world of healthcare IT, supporting 3000 doctors, 18000 faculty, and 3 million patients
  2. MD Whistleblower: When not performing colonoscopies, this physician is tacking big issues in the medical field through his blog. His passion for high-quality medicine is evident in the consideration with which he composes each post.
  3. Not Running A Hospital: Advocate for patient-centered care, eliminating preventable harm, transparency of clinical outcomes, and front-line driven process improvement.
  4. DB's Medical Rants: Will Pay for Performance improve medical care? Do physicians need to be trained in emotional intelligence? An educated opinion formed by years of hands-on experience.
  5. Health Care Reform In America: Dr. Kenneth Fisher on problems that make health care so outrageously expensive.
  6. Bad Science: Dr. Goldacre is an award-winning broadcaster and medical doctor who specializes in tearing apart dodgy scientific claims made by “scaremongerers.”
  7. Doctor & Patient: An IVF specialist who believes in information therapy and runs the world's largest free patient education library.
  8. Fixin’ Healthcare: Dr. Newberry is a physician, former Dean of College of Medicine and Academic VP & Provost at MUSC in Charleston, SC (retired) and currently at Nutritional Health Centers in Greenville & Spartanburg, SC.
  9. Health Care Renewal: A variety of doctors contribute to this blog, which is focused on health care renewal.
  10. KevinMD.com: Join the hippest, most happening doctor on the Internet today as he tackles health care issues from the lens of a primary care provider.
  11. Medical Humanities: This blog, written by a slew of medical personnel, focuses on the intersection between medicine and the arts.
  12. DB’s Medical Rants: Dr. Centor contemplates medicine and the health care system in this interesting blog.
  13. MD Whistleblower: Get it while it’s hot! Dr. Kirsch enjoys writing about controversies in the doctor-patient relationship. When he’s not writing, he’s “performing colonoscopies.”
  14. Notes from Dr. RW: Learn about strange happenings in the medical world, including the interface between medicine and politics, from this blog.
  15. The Covert Rationing Blog: Learn about healthcare rationing in America from Dr. Rich, a former professor of medicine.
  16. Wachter’s World: Dr. Wachter is MD is Professor and Associate Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He also writes this highly popular blog for and about doctors and their environments.

Physician blogs around the world

Docs blog everywhere. Here are some great blogs from down under, across the pond, and elswhere.

  1. Angry Doc: Angry Doc is anonymous, but he is located in Singapore, and his interests and opinions have garnered a large following over the years.
  2. Practice What I Preach: Thoughts on writing and parenting from a child psychiatrist and writer.
  3. Bad Medicine: This UK blog focuses on…yep, bad medicine; but, in a totally engaging way.
  4. Bagga’s Blog: Dr. Paul Baggaley is a Christian family doctor from Perth, Australia with an interest in obstetrics and pediatrics.
  5. Doctor Bloggs…The official online diary of Nasty Gnome Party: A highly political medical blog colored by a great British humor lens and focused on the British National Health Service (NHS).
  6. National Death Service: UK NHS horror stories drip from this “gotta watch this train wreck” blog.
  7. Nip/Fuct: ‘Dr. Vegas,’ located in the UK, tags himself as a “greedy doctor looking for job satisfaction.”
  8. The Jobbing Doctor: Follow this UK general practitioner who works in a “large industrialized conurbation outside of London.”
  9. The Junior Doctor: This junior doc is training somewhere in the UK and “loving it.”

Ok... Some nonclinical physician blogs too.

Although these physicians are practicing clinical medicine, their outside interests seem to take front stage on their blogs.

  1. Freelance MD: Only the most awesome physician lifestyle community on the web.
  2. Zdogg MD: Slightly Funnier Than Placebo - Zdogg's a hospital physician and purveyor of fine medical satire.
  3. In My Humble Opinion: This blog is deeply personal. A primary care physician who shares what’s in his heart regarding medical reform and the future of the profession. 
  4. Academic Life in Emergency Medicine: Emergency medicine doc at SFGH with an academic niche posting on technology and how it can transform the landscape of medical education.
  5. The Doc's Almost Wife: A nursing student, engaged to an orthopedic surgery resident. Posts discuss illusive life balance, meeting prospective office partners, and miscellany.
  6. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter: Tales From the training of a physician.
  7. Musings of a Dinosaur: if you want great writing and humor that makes you snort your coffee up your nose, this is the blog for you.
  8. Notes of an Anesthesioboist: Combine a specialist with an oboe and this is what you get.
  9. Suture For A Living: A plastic surgeon in Little Rock writing about medicine and surgery as well as sewing and quilting.
  10. The Blog that Ate Manhattan: A "Gyno-Food Blog" which focuses on both.
  11. The Doctor Is In: Dr. Bob is a Christian doctor who has a very popular blog.
  12. Physician Law: Regulatory and transactional health care attorney blogs legal.
  13. Medical Spa MD: Physicians in non-surgical cosmetic medicine.

Ok, if you're a math guru you can see that there's more than 59 blogs here, but round numbers always smack of contrivance and we hate that.

Think there's a physician blog that should be included in this list? Please add it as a comment. (Blogs that fit in this list only please.)

Tuesday
Jan112011

If A Surgeon Can Write A Book or Two, So Can You

If I had only one word, I would use “pinball” to describe my transition from academic surgery as an Associate Professor at Dartmouth to what I do now, combining locum tenens general surgery with being a thought leader in physician engagement and optimizing physician-hospital collaboration.

Yet, writing appears to be the common thread in my iterative life journey.  I learned that the words “author” and “authority” have a common root, auctor, (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/authority)  meaning writer, progenitor, accepted source of information, power, and mastery.

I had a fortunate break that helped me write my first book, Better Communication for Better Care.  In 2003, the head of the California Hospital Association who heard me present results of a consulting project, remarked, “This is the best work in any California community hospital, bar none,” and told the President of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) to ask me to teach a seminar there.  As a result of the seminar, the acquisition editor of Health Administration Press, the publishing arm of the ACHE, told me that she had a series of 80-page Executive Essentials books and asked me if my seminar material would fit.

When I said yes, she said, “Just because you have published over 40 articles, don’t think of this project as an extended article.  Writing a book is different.”  What I learned from the process is that:

  • Writing a book with a publisher requires others’ assistance: people who cannot abide by others advising them re: title, cover design, length, and word-smithing are better off self-publishing
  • The focus is on the needs of the target market: unlike a review article, which is a scholarly product, a book published by Health Administration Press must reflect the unmet needs of senior healthcare leaders, guiding them on what strategies and tactics work with physicians, not telling them how ignorant they are because they did not attend medical school
  • Once the book is published, the author’s job begins: at Health Administration Press, a marketing department of two oversees the launch of about 100 books in the catalog; it becomes the author’s responsibility to take an active role in marketing the book if s/he wants to publish another book in the future

So, how do you market your book?

My mentor Sam Horn, taught me, “Ink it when you think it.”  I keep a pad of paper and a pen in my pocket, and on my bedroom nightstand for those moments when a thought comes to me.  Others use the record button of their smart phones to capture ideas.  For me, writing has been a wonderful journey that has expanded my knowledge base and circle of friends and colleagues and that has led to speaking and consulting invitations in 40 states, England, Sweden, Italy, and China.

I hope that your writing journey is equally rewarding and that you will keep me posted on your progress by writing me at ken.cohn@healthcarecollaboration.com

Monday
Jan102011

A Physician’s Journey To Social Media & Blogging

By Richard C. Senelick MD

A Physician’s Journey to Social Media and Blogging

A physician’s life often seems to be programmed. We go from college to medical school to internship to residency to fellowship to practice in a seamless path. Twelve to fifteen years go by without too many questions for we are consumed with the educational process and the brass ring at the end of this marathon event. Another straight line seems ahead of us as we pursue our career.

But, are our lives as physician’s really such a straight line or are they influenced by minor events that have major influences on the paths we travel? Life is like a novel where minor or serendipitous events take us in a different direction until another such event pushes us down another path. Most of the major decisions in our lives seem to be made with inadequate information- the decision to marry someone, become a physician, and choose a specialty.  Who really knows what marriage or a particular career will be like?

A Serendipitous Meeting

I had been in practice 35 years, written eight books and produced multiple DVDs. (http://www.richardsenelick.com/books-dvds) I enjoyed lecturing and writing, but again felt that itch to take that little fork in the road that might open new doors and get the creative juices flowing again.  I am a firm believer in reinventing oneself every 5-10 years. I received an email flyer for Dr. Julie Silver’s course at Harvard on “Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Nonfiction". I can’t tell you exactly why I signed up, but it seemed like a good diversion from the usual meetings on Stroke, Brain Injury and Rehabilitation. I already had a distribution system for my books, wasn’t looking for an agent, but some intangible nagging resonated with that “fork in the road” part of my brain. It was March 2010 and winter had descended on Boston, with winds blowing the snow horizontally. This was perfect weather to settle in for a meeting and avoid the temptation to walk along Newbury Street and sit at a café with my new iPad. I am famous for not being able to sit longer than 2-3 hours at a meeting. So, I took my usual spot in the last row, convenient for the quick escape. What followed were 2 ½ days that became one of those critical forks in the road for me.

Social What?

I was having a great time and getting all kinds of good information on writing, publishing and meeting people, but nothing seemed to be happening that would make a major difference in my career. It is not unusual for me to blow off the last morning of a 2 ½ day meeting, but my curiosity was piqued by a talk on Social Media by Rusty Shelton of Shelton Interactive. I had a “facebook” account I never used, but didn’t have a website, know how to “tweet” and had never commented on a blog, let alone written one. 

I am your typical cynical neurologist, so I sat in the back of the room with my arms folded as Rusty Shelton started his pitch for the new order of social media and publishing. It is not an understatement to say it was a true epiphany and resonated throughout my body. I instantly “got” social media and saw that door that only needed to be opened. It usually took me a year to write a book and then it was only seen by a limited number of people. Even worse that book might be out of date in six months. 
It became clear. My books were meant to educate healthcare professionals, people with disabilities and their families. With a website and a blog I could instantly disseminate information, keep it up to date, communicate with colleagues, people in need and get instant gratification. I also realized that all of my magazines and newspapers were getting thinner and that I was getting 90% of my information from the Internet. I no longer went to the medical school library weekly to sit in the stacks, but the stacks came to me on my computer screen. If I wanted to be part of mainstream society and contribute on an international level the remainder of my life, I had better get on board the social media train or be left at the station.

It is a little less than a year since Julie Silver’s course presented me with a new fork in the road. With Rusty Shelton at my side, we have developed a website, www.richardsenelick.com with books, articles and an active blog. We developed a professional “facebook” page (facebook.com/richardsenelick) and I am even starting to use Twitter. (twitter.com/richardsenelick)  Interviews and other writing opportunities have followed. It wasn’t much later that I received a major opportunity to blog for the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-c-senelick-md) which has been more fun than I can remember. I have been asked to guest blog on other people’s websites and am getting fully integrated into social media. Not only has it been invigorating, it has allowed me to play a role in the national dialogue that will ultimately impact providers, patients and their families.

No matter what you are thinking of writing, social media and the opportunities it provides should be a major part of your plan. Thanks to Dr. Silver’s course, it is now a major part of mine.

About: Richard C. Senelick MD is a neurologist who serves as the  Medical Director of RIOSA, The Rehabilitation Institute of San Antonio, and Editor in Chief of HealthSouth Press, the publishing arm of one of the nation’s largest hospital systems. He is a frequent lecturer on both a national and international level. Dr. Senelick writes a regular Blog for the Huffington Post.  Amongst his many books and publications, he has authored Living with Stroke: A Guide for Families, Living with Brain Injury: A Guide for Families, The Spinal Cord Injury Handbook, and Beyond Please and Thank You: The Disability Awareness Handbook.

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