An alternative view of social media

The following is a transcript of the ‘against’ argument at #APEM2012 (

“Paediatric Emergency Medicine in the UK would benefit from more doctors on mainstream social media”

So let us be clear what we are talking about here. We are talking about social media – the facebook, the linkedIN , the twitter. All the things your children, nephews and nieces get involved with.

Who here has never used any of those things?

Excellent – well done. Clearly hasn’t done you any harm.

Those who support such things would have you believe that by being part of, what is it called  “ a global phenomenon”  that you are somehow missing out.  Missing out on what exactly  – arrogant, self-obessed individuals keen on knowing how many followers they have. We are paediatric emergency medicine specialists; we treat dying children. We don’t follow – we lead! Our knowledge if very valuable – why share it with a community of people you have never met. Much better if it stays within the four walls of the hospital you work; you have the best approach. You must do – no-one has challenged it for it years!

And lets say for the sake of argument I did want to dabble in the nonsense. Who has time for it? With all the google searching, trying to find the one paper you read 5 years ago in a dozen similarly labeled folders, putting together presentations from scratch how can you possibly have any PAs (that sessions for those of you in the US)  left.

And then clearly you will get sued! Remember that chap from Wales.  Posted something along the lines of “don’t like working in birth sheds, prefer the cabbage patch. The public were a little aggrieved when they found out he was talking about obstetric units and ICUs.

This shouldn’t really be a path we go down. A study from the US of 600 staff involved in the admission process for medical schools and residency programmes found that 2/3 were familiar with researching individuals on social networking sites. Furthermore, over half (53%) agreed that online professionalism should be a factor in the selection process and that “unprofessional behaviour” evinced from wall posts/comments, photos, and group memberships should compromise an applicant. Clearly the racous behaviour that the PEM community get up to on the evening of the APEM meal may well count against them in the future? I suppose it was re-assuring that only a small proportion (3-4%) said they used the information they found to reject a candidate.

Although this maybe only a US phenomenon. Jared Rhoads, senior research analyst with CSC’s Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices, said feedback on therapies is one of the most valuable uses for social media — and possibly one of the easiest to facilitate (via amednews).

“If 10,000 people start talking about a side effect of a drug, it won’t be that hard to find that out,” he said. Really???

So basically if you are too busy, already know your stuff and what stay in the ‘real world’ social media is not for you

DISCLAIMER: Dr Damian Roland does not believe a word of the above 😉

3 thoughts on “An alternative view of social media”

  1. Love it! So when are you going to write the counter piece – about learning distributed leadership, developing digital technologies, making connections with like minded (or unlike minded) individuals who challenge your assumptions, your practice, your views of the world albeit in a constructive way, as critical friend. What about the power of micro-studies of lived experience – I feel closer to the trainee experience in PGME now than I did pre twitter…

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