information being relayed by the presenter, which allows for
additional questions to be raised and discussed. These conversations can lead to an expansion of the research, future
collaboration, and improved dissemination of the work. In
fact, live tweeting at conferences using the assigned conference hashtag could become a powerful recruitment tool to
bolster an organization’s membership as well as future meeting attendance.
Professionalism and Twitter
Users, particularly physicians, should remember that all
tweets are public. Anyone with Internet access can find
your tweets. Once you start tweeting or posting on Facebook, expressing views or content in an unedited manner
can become almost second nature. Keep in mind, however,
that once your message is out there it is nearly impossible
to completely erase it from the Web. It is important to set
a professional example for both colleagues and junior physicians on social media, and that includes ensuring patient
confidentiality at all times. A popular rule of thumb is a
12-word social media policy: “Don’t lie, don’t pry; don’t
cheat, can’t delete; don’t steal, don’t reveal.”
Twitter is an influential tool because it offers opportunities to
share ideas. This influence is especially apparent when ideas
are shared by enough people to motivate others to action.
Social media platforms like Twitter can generate increased
interest in a topic and enhance the legitimacy of a wide range
of ideas and perspectives. In other words, there is “power in
numbers.” How many people can you reach in a classroom
or in a meeting— 20? 300? How about sharing your ideas with
30,000 people in an instant via a hashtag discussion on Twitter?
Consider that someone on the other side of the world might
be experiencing the same issue that you have at your hospital, and they have found a solution. Twitter offers an endless
supply of crowd-sourcing opportunities. Once you establish a
network of academic surgeons, you have the ability to tweet a
question and get instant answers. If you’ve found better ways
to do things, whether solutions for increasing efficiency or
improving outcomes, wouldn’t you want to share your experiences with your colleagues? You can. It is just a tweet away. ♦
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