Social Media and Medical Education: Access Denied.
-By Rebecca Hastings, D.O.
I have never been very computer or tech savvy. I’m not up-to-date on the latest technology, but I do have a smart phone and a laptop which I use for their very basic purposes; and I do admit I have a Facebook account, mostly for keeping in touch with friends and family and, you know, the daily grind. Up until recently, I had no idea how to “Tweet” or what Twitter was really all about. A physician mentor of mine suggested that I start a Twitter account and take advantage of the vast amount of knowledge floating around in Twitter world. I was hesitant at first since my free time is limited and I didn’t really need any additional distractions from my fellowship. Plus, I definitely didn’t need to join another social media network to share pictures and read about everyone’s daily happenings. But, I trust my mentor and appreciate his guidance, so I signed up. And WOW! Information overload at my fingertips!! Within a few minutes, I became a “follower” of JAMA, Chest, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, New England Journal of Medicine, the Annals of Internal Medicine and numerous other large medical journals and institutions. Granted, I may have also become a “follower” of a couple fitness magazines and my beloved Kansas Jayhawks, but the majority of my Twitter thread consists of these professional organizations. I had immediate access to hundreds of tweets from these prestigious institutions across the world. These world-renowned entities were “tweeting” about medical information, both past and present. They were sharing everything from major review articles to personal reflections and comic strips. Not only were the major institutions sharing these, but other physicians were sharing their professional opinions and other articles that they found important and interesting. By signing up for Twitter, I had opened my eyes to a whole new world of medical education.
At first, I mostly just browsed articles and topics that were posted. But the more I read, the more I wanted to share. I felt like others were helping me, so why not share the knowledge. One afternoon, I sat down in the fellow call room on a break. I had been browsing my Twitter feed on my phone and there were a couple of interesting articles and commentaries I wanted to read. But low and behold, when signing in, a big red box comes across the screen stating “Access Denied.” Ok, so I know Twitter is technically considered social media, but why can’t social media be used as an educational tool? Large renowned institutions and organizations are tweeting valuable information pertaining to my livelihood and I can’t access it “on the job” where I’m supposed to be gaining an education. Continue reading “Why Medical Education Should Embrace Social Media”