A Summary of the Good, the Bad and the Useless in Social Media for Medical Professionals

Social media can be a powerful tool for medical professionals: it can provide critical medical information to patients and help you connect. It can also deliver the kind of visibility that helps with career advancement, third party relationships or as a resource when we want to be heard about a particularly important issue. But certain social media tactics and tools can also be a waste of time when you have such little time to begin with. The following, based on 30 years of experience, is how I would navigate social media, spending on average about 15 minutes a day, or more, or less.

How I Would Dedicate 15 Minutes Each Day to Social Media

For Twitter:
The Twitter audience can work well for surgeons and physicians. It is designed to be quick and higher level. I highly recommend using Twitter for colleagues, not patients. You do not want certain patients to have public access to you, so please restrict who you follow and who follows you by choosing content only your target audience is interested in. Choosing this particular network will also save you time. The goal should be communication and relationship building with colleagues.

One method of limiting your audience to colleagues and peers is to use your first name only. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey uses just @jack for a reason: to show that access to him is limited to those who either know him or would impress him. Using your first name with numbers or symbols with it can help secure the approved use of your name.

I also recommend defining your use of Twitter topics ahead of time so that there is a discipline to the process and you can gain comfort in knowing you do have boundaries. For example, your priority content for Twitter may be something like this: news of my research; interesting news with my comment; my opinions on [this] topic; colleague praise. You will also want to tweet out any interviews you do or any on line coverage of your good work. Trust me, this saves time.

Further, I counsel my clients to tweet their impressions at conferences. It gives you a record of the event and stimulates appreciation from those who could not go.

You can quickly keep up with what colleagues and friends are doing.

For LinkedIn:
It was once thought that people only use LinkedIn when they are job hunting, but that isn’t always true. LinkedIn can work well to remind your colleagues that you are practicing and that referrals are welcome. Simply fill in updates and let your connections know when there is something news worthy about your life or career. Connect with anyone who can be a referral partner.

Use updates to post your papers, any media coverage or events you are involved in. There is a place to post your presentations, and I recommend you do so to increase your audience. Make sure you announce that it is available.

I don’t recommend their message center—stick with good old-fashioned email to make sure they received your message.

For Facebook:
I use Facebook to keep up with my adult kids, who are at the age where they use it regularly. But I also have a professional page—and that is my priority on Facebook. Here you can post updates on your activities and provide information on the same topics I mentioned above.

I recommend limiting your time and your content. Make sure it is restricted to ensure there is no drama or errors. There is new survey data that people who spend a lot of time on Facebook experience anxiety. While we don’t know for certain yet if this is true, it may be a good idea to stick with it as a business tool, because it is no substitute for good relationships.

The Big Wave Project: Breaking Ground on a Community for Special Needs Adults

It has been a twenty-year journey, but we will finally have a groundbreaking ceremony on the Big Wave property on August 15th.

It was approximately twenty years ago that Steve and Jamie Barber  and my wife Valerie and I came up with the idea of Big Wave and began to lay the groundwork.

We have owned the property for more than 20 years. We asked other families in our community to join us in our effort to use the land to provide affordable housing, meaningful employment and community to adults with special needs. They heard our call and we quickly built a strong coalition of local support. Over the years, we successfully built support throughout the county. We have had to jump through many state and local hoops in order for us to build Big Wave. We were prepared to meet the many regulations and fees, and we did, finally, after twenty years of waiting, hoping and believing in our mission.

When we introduced the Big Wave idea to the community, most understood the need for what we call “intentional community” for our most vulnerable adults. With the encouragement of the families, San Mateo County supervisors, mayors and countless parents, we began the process of applying and reapplying and applying and reapplying for the necessary permits. It took twenty years, but the county agreed once they saw how many families on the Coast support Big Wave.

I have a lot of people to thank for getting us to this point—of course, Kim Gainza, my right hand, Scott Holmes, each Board of Director for their incredible patience and determination, our families, and to my daughter Elizabeth whom has given me such a wonderful purpose in life.  And thank you to our government officials, especially Supervisors Horsley and Pine, and Planning staff Steve Monowotz and Camille Leung, who approved the plans and supported us through it all. Thank you for working with us.

What’s Next?

We’ve been farming on the property since 2010, working with sixty adults with special needs each day. We are developing, maintaining, and improving a sustainable, year-round food production system that will help supply the daily requirement of fresh fruit, salad greens, vegetables, and eggs for our future residents. We are learning how to grow our own food and raise chickens in an organic and sustainable manner. Our residential plan calls for more than 8 acres to be available for farming and egg and honey production.

We will be starting the water and sewer main lines this September.

We want to continue supporting local team sports—including Challenger Baseball and 50 players on the Coastside Special Olympics basketball teams. We can hardly wait to resume these successful programs after things return to normal.

Our goal is to break ground for actual construction this fall. Keep your fingers crossed because we have many local families and businesses that are eager to join us as soon as possible, for the sake of so many adults with special needs.

So welcome to Big Wave.  We are an organization that believes that we are only as great as the communities that we serve. Alongside with One Step Beyond and several other programs that support adults with special needs, we continue to work together to help create a community in which everyone has a place to call home.

 

Jeff Peck is the founder and CEO of Big Wave.

How to Get Your Manuscript Respected by Literary Agents

My Rules of the Road

  • Begin by being courteous: and that means while showing them who you are don’t take too much time, and be on time.

  • Impeccable writing is crucial and the term Less is More has never been so important. So, brevity, my friend, brevity.

  • Be honest and accurate.

  • Candor is not only attractive to agents; it’s sexy.

  • An editor will be essential. Even sexier.

  • Simplicity may take more time, but you will see in the finished work it is well worth it.

  • Do not bother telling them your writing is great.  Show them, damn it.

  • Your writing skill is a gift: the sooner you recognize this, the sooner you will have a positive experience.

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