Listen, learn and share – the social media disease
Earlier today, I was honored with an opportunity to speak at the yearly congress of the Belgian Pediatric Society.
A bit of a different audience…
I was the only one who had his laptop out. There were only 2 other people there who twittered. (BTW, let me know who you are – I’d like to follow you!)
My talk was after one on teenage pregnancies (4000 per year in Belgium!), transgender issues in children (very convincing drawings of how children portray themselves as of the opposite sex!), acne (yes, I remember!). So, if not a disease, at least the expectation was that social media would also be problematic…
Frankly, I don’t buy that. The main problem IMHO is Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
And the main benefit I see, not a surprise to many of you, is the opportunity for openness and transparency. In fact, there are some nice examples in pediatrics of people already doing this: SeattleMamaDoc so gets it:
I use twitter to research how moms/dads online are responding to controversial parenting topics and new findings, but also how they share about their own lives. I listen and learn from my incredible community there: world health experts, pediatricians, activated patients, bloggers, etc. It’s a place for me to grow, network and share my thinking.
Listen, learn and share. Exactly right. That is what social media is all about.
In my view, it is extremely important that ‘professionals’ engage with that world: parents are already discussing doctors, therapy, medication, etc. anyway. Experts can choose not to be part of that conversation – with all the dangers of misinformation, wrong advice, etc. (Think homeopathy…) Or they can choose to engage, participate: as they listen and share, they may find out that they too will learn…
BTW, it was Great Fun to talk at the same event as my sister. And a bit confusing, I think half my audience expected her to talk – she’s a real medical person – and some of the people she works with worried she had moved to KU Leuven, where I work 😉 Sorry if our common initials confuse people – there is digital identity for you!