In addition to returning to my blog after a recent break, I have also resumed my activity in other forms of social media (or SoMe for short). In particular, I am back on Twitter (@TaborF). Twitter has a reputation for being rather superficial, and there certainly is plenty of inane celebrity-related tweeting going on. However, it can be used for more productive pursuits. My primary involvement with it is the weekly #meded chat on Thursday evenings, which allows me to meet others all over the world, who share my interest in medical education. If you would also enjoy a lively discussion of current issues in the meded field, you are welcome to check it out.
I have also joined Linked In, as a relatively late arrival. I had been putting it off, mostly because of time constraints. Enough of my colleagues have invited me to join them that I finally gave in. I am still very new to it (not even a profile picture up yet), so it is too soon to say how I will like it. I do have a multitude of professional contacts to maintain though, and it does seem useful for this purpose.
My use of Facebook is purely personal, rather than professional. Even though mine is the cutest baby in the history of babies, I do not necessarily want to share our photos with the entire world. So I restrict this to family and friends. It is also my main means of keeping up with their weddings/babies/special events and a great way to rediscover people from my well-traveled past who could be in any time zone.
The one form of SoMe that I obstinately avoid participating in is Pinterest. I regard it as a conspiracy against working mothers. I will never decorate the baby’s room (or any room in our home) in a coordinated manner. His Star Wars/dinosaurs/miscellaneous animals theme is perfectly fine, thank you. I will never make any homemade crafts or baked goods for his class functions. It’s just not going to happen and that is okay.
My blog is a mix of several identities. I reflect on my professional work as a doctor and also my personal interests in literature and creative writing. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on this intersection of personal and professional selves. Any doctor who is active on SoMe needs to be vigilant about standards of professionalism. Even when “off duty”, we are still a part of the medical community and invested with the public’s trust. My friends in the clergy face a similar challenge, never able to truly separate their private lives from their vocation’s ethics of appropriate behavior.
Despite these strictures, it remains important for us to be part of the public conversations about medical education and healthcare, especially in times of great change. Our voices, as advocates for our profession and the welfare of our patients, should be heard.