Making Connections

October 31, 2015 by | 8 comments

Twelve likes are better than two...

Twelve likes are better than two…

Why is it that I seem to have more physician recruiters connected to my LinkedIn profile than actual physicians? I just came from a medical conference, and despite being surrounded by clinical colleagues the only ‘connections’ I made were with vendors and job-placement firms. The key seemed to be not just the recognition of the power of social contacts, but taking the initiative to actively build them – something the docs in the group seemed reluctant to do. Certainly one could argue that vendors and recruiters are reliant on the contacts that they gather, but I would humbly suggest that recently, and increasingly, so might we be reliant. Over just the past few weeks we have seen the importance of social media campaigns in spreading awareness, have recognized the need to get messages out beyond our respective medical bubbles, and witnessed the tremendous impact of positive physician stories going viral. The media is watching, our non-medical friends are watching, and the government is watching.

Despite the high level of activity, I continue to see excellent news articles and tweets shared by docs get buried by pop culture videos. A handful of likes before Beiber’s latest shenanigans take centre stage. On the rare occasions that the post gains some momentum, they start to attract attention from outside of our medical choir. I have taken the opportunity over the last few weeks to share news articles, reconnect with colleagues from various stages of my training, and start to expand my professional network. I’ve hit the ‘like’ button more than I think I ever have in my life, and have shared links that I never used to share. It would be a tremendous shame if we rallied together for this one issue just to eventually fade back into the respective woodwork of our day-to-day lives. We’ve seen the power of an engaged social media presence, and have an opportunity to convert this current energy into something with longer-term impact.

This isn’t to say everyone needs to randomly follow each other, or throw a parade for every medical link posted on their feed, but instead consciously choose to follow a few more, like a few more, and share a few more medical posts. Twelve ‘Likes’ garner more attention than two, and have more of a chance of attracting attention and starting discussion. Certainly if some of our social networks are eagerly sharing the latest Trump sound-bite, we can take the time to promote positive and relevant stories about healthcare.

A handful of suggested physician blogs to get you started:

Merillee Fullerton (since late 2006!)

Gail Beck (since 2012)

Shawn Whatley (since 2013)

Mario Elia (since late 2014)

Scott Wooder (since early 2015)

Have others in mind? Share them in the comments!

About the Author

Taylor Lougheed is a physician in Family and Emergency Medicine, and passionate about sustainable public healthcare, quality improvement and patient safety, medical education, and global health.

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  1. Stephen

    It’s funny – at my last conference I got dozens of business cards and none of them were from doctors.
    Certainly something for us to keep in mind!

    • Taylor Lougheed

      Same situation here, Stephen. Had at least two dozen cards, and at least half of them were from recruiters!

  2. Thanks Taylor! I subscribed to your blog. Appreciate the shout out. Keep writing! Cheers.

    • Taylor Lougheed

      I appreciate it, Shawn! I’ve enjoyed following your blog as well.

  3. Aryn

    Great post Taylor – succinct and so very true! The power of social media and networks has become evermore apparent to me over the past several months – they provide wonderful opportunities to be inspired, empowered, informed and involved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Taylor Lougheed

      Thanks for your comment, Aryn! Social media hasn’t come naturally to me, but I’m learning as I go!

  4. Andrew Lee

    Great list of blogs, Taylor. I agree that we need to build our networks, but personally don’t get too involved with social media. I read an opinion a few years ago that talked about the lost benefit of the doctor’s lounge in hospitals and wonder if our smaller professional networks may relate to that.

    • Taylor Lougheed

      That’s an interesting thought, Andrew. I’ve certainly heard some of my older colleagues bemoan the loss of the doctor’s lounge (and the dining room in some cases!), but I wonder if we can recreate even some of that collegial spirit online.

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