As a marketing and PR specialist, I can’t say that I ever thought I would be giving an academic presentation at a radiology conference. However, I was invited by Dr. Alexander J. Towbin to join him and two other leaders in the field, Dr. Lindsey Shea and Dr. Vikas Shah, to speak on the importance of social media for physicians, departments, and ongoing education at the RSNA 2019 conference.
I didn’t know what to expect; would radiologists really care what I had to say on the importance of taking nice pictures and using #hashtags? I was astonished to find a packed room, an engaged audience, and specific questions.
Each of the presenters had a story to tell; I wanted to share the importance of using hashtags to create radiology movements, as I have been a proud member of the #Ditchthedisk and #RADxx initiatives. Dr. Towbin wanted to share the success that Cincinnati Children’s radiology department has had using social media and a blog to make imaging far less scary for their patients. They’ve also used social media to share insights regarding specialty cases and to provide hope for other patients suffering from similar chronic or serious illnesses. Dr. Lindsey Shea discussed her own personal brand and how creating a social presence had enabled her to network and meet mentors she never would have otherwise. Finally, Dr. Vikas Shah highlighted the use of social media tools for ongoing education.
It should be no surprise that physicians need to take a serious interest in social media. Millennials aren’t quite so young anymore; they are becoming homeowners, leaders in the workplace, parents, and more. More than any generation before them, millennials search for recommendations regarding physicians and facilities online. An outdated website, lack of reviews, and difficulty accessing critical information could be a major turn-off.
Radiology as a field seems to be recognizing the importance of social media, too. In a recent piece in The Journal of the American College of Radiology, AdventHealth Orlando radiologist Darel Heitkamp, MD, and colleagues concluded that “As the tools available to radiology educators continue to evolve with technology, it seems prudent for today’s program directors to consider the advantages of maintaining a professional Twitter account.” Another article in Aunt Minnie even touted the importance of Instagram for education.
However, social media is not without its downfalls, and Dr. Towbin shared a few tips during his presentation that I thought are paramount to safe social media practices.
Social media is a fantastic way to network, share your work, and learn from others. Follow the guidelines above to stay safe while tweeting away!
Ps: Giphys (as shared by Dr. Lindsey Shea in her presentation) are highly encouraged!