Today I wanted to start a new series of posts I’m calling the Dispelling Common Healthcare IT Myths series. There are a lot of these to cover. In many ways, this series of blog posts is going to cover some of the most common questions I get asked by healthcare providers, CIOs, nurses, practice managers, HIM professionals, etc as I travel all over the country talking to hundreds of people.
The first common myth I want to dispel is that Social Media is for sharing everything you do. This is often illustrated when I talk with someone about social media and then they reply, “I Don’t Want to Share What I Ate on Social Media.” *shakes head*
Social media is SOOOOOO much more than just sharing everything you do throughout the day including what you ate. This is particularly true in the healthcare social media community. Just so I’m clear. Social media can be used to share every meal you ever eat and a few people do in fact share every meal. That said, the majority of people don’t use social media in this way.
It’s easy to see why this perception came about. Many of the initial social media platforms like Facebook said things like “What did you do today?” In fact, I just checked Facebook now and it still says “What’s on your mind, John?” Many initially interpreted it to mean that they needed to share everything they do (including every meal). This idea has shifted and now people are sharing everything imaginable on social media (and even some unimaginable things).
The point being, social media is not really about what you did or what you’ve done or what other people have done. It is more about learning something new, connecting with people, and sharing your unique perspectives and insights on a topic. And you can have some fun on there too.
These ideas are particularly true for social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn which have a lot of professionals involved. Sure, those same professionals are on Facebook as well and there are some fantastic Facebook groups where this can happen, but more people use Facebook for personal things and Twitter and LinkedIn for professional things.
Here is some of the value people find from taking part in healthcare social media:
Learning – If you’re following the right people, your Twitter feed can be an incredible source of the latest news, research, and learnings for your industry. The key here is making sure you follow the right people. To see this value, you probably need to follow about 25 extremely active Twitter accounts or 50-100 less active Twitter accounts. Once you do this, your feed will be full of amazing content that stretches your mind and gets you access to information that will help you in your job.
Connecting – One of the powers of Twitter is that you can connect and message with almost anyone on the platform. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be surprised how accessible and interactive people will be on Twitter. Want a conversation with a CIO on Twitter? That’s easy. Want to interact with someone at CMS? Not a problem. Those are specific use cases, but some of the best connections happen serendipitously. To see what I mean, take part in a Twitter chat. We’re partial to the #HITsm chat we host each week, but there are hundreds of others you can choose from to find your proverbial “tribe” on Twitter. Find your tribe and start engaging with the people tweeting with that hashtag. This is particularly true at many healthcare IT conferences which have a well used Twitter hashtag. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll connect with amazing people that can help you and your career. Plus, you’ll benefit from the joy of helping other people as well.
Sharing – While you don’t need to share everything about your life, social media can be a great way for you to share your knowledge and insights with peers. We all have experiences and insights that others will find useful. If you’re not sure what to share, that’s fine. However, as you see other people sharing, engage them in a conversation and you’ll be surprised how you likely have many experiences and insights you can share with others. It’s an amazing feeling when you share something that makes another person’s life better. Don’t think it’s possible? Well, then you probably haven’t shared much on social media. I’ve experienced it hundreds of times and it never gets old.
I could go on and on about this topic, but these are 3 high-level benefits of social media that everyone can enjoy. If you’re involved in social media, please hop in the comments and share other benefits you’ve seen from social media. Of course, if you’re new to Twitter, you can start by following @techguy and @healthcarescene on Twitter and a few hundred others here.
Of course, if you do love food, you can find that on social media like Twitter as well. There’s nothing wrong with mixing work and play if you’re thoughtful about it. In fact, there’s something amazing about reading some healthcare IT tweets, some food tweets, some inspirational tweets, some sports tweets, and then some health policy tweets. That’s the beauty of Twitter. You can follow and customize your feed to the things that interest you.
Long Story Short: Social Media is for so much more than what I ate.