For the past few months, I've been sitting in the backseat with my social media presence and trying to figure out my reasons and future with it. It all started a few months ago when my roommate got into a lot of trouble for an email she wrote to a professor with very innocent/professional intentions. That email was misinterpreted and forwarded across the department and to the dean. Her situation made me step back and question my own social media presence and hope that I'm not writing something that is completely misinterpreted in my blog, twitter, or even Facebook. I try to add my voice into my writing to personalize it, but without actually hearing my voice or knowing me as a person - this can be misconstrued.
I definitely think it's important to be a little cautions in all forms of written media, and even more so on the internet. The medical field in all of its entirety is a combination of hugely public and extremely private information, so it makes sense when advised to "be careful" with any aspect of social media. However, the way we use the internet in our daily lives as grown astronomically. The immediate response to a question in daily conversation is "Google it"! I honestly don't remember how I ever got to places without Google Maps or Mapquest - did we really pull out a map every time we were looking for places?! Obviously, there's pros and cons to all situations, but the pros of the internet are phenomenal.
Do I need a blog or twitter account to do well in school? Absolutely not, and in some ways it's a distraction. So it's easy to see the social media outlets as not-important. But it is important. From my medical school experience thus far, I've learned to be a good doctor you need to know your information. But to be a great doctor - you need to know your information AND be advocates for your patients. Social interaction, understanding what patients are saying, keeping up to date on new advances inside and outside of medicine are all equally important. While I'm not suggesting or saying that I will sacrifice what I need to study to catch up on all of the above, I am suggesting that it's not a bad idea to make a little time for it.
When I began my search for my own manifesto about social media, I reached out to my favorite bloggers. They were so kind to provide me with insight and personal anecdotes to how they started blogging.* This made me reflect back to why I started blogging in the first place.
I have a personal blog which I share with my close friends and family. I originally started blogging to interact with my friends and family. After graduating college, most my friends and I went our separate ways (geographically). It's an odd transition living minutes apart (walking distance) away from your close friends for four years to living at opposite parts of the country. Needless to say, not only was it tough to keep in touch, I was very alone. I didn't have anyone to share my random musings with, no one to share how my day went, and no one to hear back from. Thus, I started blogging to keep my friends in the loop and consequently they would share about their lives. Additionally, when I read my previous posts, I enjoy reliving those moments - how I felt during different stages of my life - it's a nice way of reflecting upon the past and moving forward.
With that blog, I randomly found other premedical students, non-trad students (like myself, at the time), and medical students. It was really interesting!! I felt like the blogosphere had all these communities out there and you can be a part of anyone you like. Want to see how the life of medical student is going - blog for that; Want to find DIY projects - blog for that; Want to find how others are studying for the MCAT - blog for that; Want to find what students are doing between college and medical school - blog for that! And the list continues. I got to learn, and I'm still learning so much about all the opportunities and activities there are in the world.
It's. Simply. Amazing.
At the end of my search, I realized one thing - I enjoy it. I simply just enjoy blogging and reading blogs of others. It not only allows me to learn, but allows me to grow as an individual by enriching my perspective. In addition, our patients are online! There's an invaluable amount of information we can learn from patients.
I'm not sure when/if I'll make the shift from being pseudo-anonymous to completely public. I'm not even sure of what kinds of entries I will be making in this blog. All I know, is that I'm here to stay.
*I thought I'd share a few of my favorite bloggers. Check them out, if you haven't already!