As a fellow, do you use Twitter for educational purposes? Do you follow ASCO University (#ASCOU) on Twitter? If so, have the tweets been helpful/useful/interesting?
|Sabha Ganai, MD, PhD
Twitter has slowly, but steadily, integrated into how I keep up with medical information and news, which partly coincides with a greater presence by numerous medical societies over the last 2 years. I am a Surgical Oncology Fellow, so I enjoy updates from various surgical leaders and bloggers, as well as an expanded interdisciplinary community of nurses, gastroenterologists, oncologists, and general public. What gets infectious about Twitter is the sharing of information that goes on between clinicians! While Twitter only allows 140 characters for each tweet, that is typically more than enough information to pique your interest. The ASCO University hashtag (#ASCOU
) is exciting because it is already a great resource for oncology fellows, with information about topical educational courses, literature reviews, podcasts, and ASCO-SEP self-assessment opportunities.
How do you incorporate social media into your busy schedule? Why have you chosen to make the time for it (what benefits are you getting from it)?
I hate being bombarded by emails. At the same time, social media affords me the opportunity to catch up with general updates on both work and personal fronts on my own time. If I have a few minutes between cases, I can catch up on my emails and flip through the feeds on Twitter and Facebook. While Facebook is much more private and centered on the personal life of my friends, Twitter is more of a media outlet that allows me to explore what’s happening in the world, especially as it relates to oncology practice.
What advice would you give Fellows who may want to become more involved with social media but don’t know how to start?
There is a lot of discussion about Professionalism and the integration of social media into the lives of clinicians. So, for the many who are wary, but would still like to get involved, my advice is to set some basic limits. For Facebook, set privacy controls on who can see your profile and posts, and simply do not ‘friend’ patients. Limit the co-workers and acquaintances you friend, just as you limit the people who you might invite over to your house. Once you have defined your boundaries and your friends, feel free to make your presence heard, whether by a status update, posting a link, uploading a photo, or commenting on a friend’s post. By liking various “Pages”, you will start getting information and updates from societies like ASCO on your News Feed.
For Twitter, you can simply start by ‘lurking’. Begin by following @ASCO
and a few groups or societies that share your common interests. Discover “hashtags” on topics you would like to hear discussions about and see what people are saying. The decision to tweet or re-tweet will be purely organic, but it is in fact part of the conversational buzz that defines Twitter.
Are there any blogs you follow on ASCO Connection or other sites? What is it about blogs that make them attractive?
Back in the heyday of the Sunday newspaper, I always found the Opinion section to be my favorite! ASCO Connection
provides the world of oncology a little perspective and discussion from some pretty thoughtful clinicians. What is great about the blogs on ASCO Connection i
s that they offer discussion that is not often found in peer-reviewed journals: a focus on topics that are timely, clinically-relevant, personal, controversial, and often focusing on the systems and delivery of medicine. Blogs allow introspection, conjecture, and discussion of more of the art than the science of medicine.