Online Social Networking Basics For Doctors

Now a day, Social Networking is very much visible in many areas of our society. It is being used for various purposes, and not necessarily for its good functions. You might have heard in the news about some people being questioned for illegal or unethical conduct because of how they have used social networking.

Doctor, you need to know that if you engage in social networking deliberately, you can use it to your advantage.

This is also one reason why we have established our membership site to allow various degrees of interaction with our members. Historically, not only in our own experience but also with research studies that have been done, chiropractic doctors fall behind other groups when it comes to the use of social networking. This discussion aims to enlighten you a little bit and whet your appetite. Look for more information on social networking in our upcoming technology workshops.

If done properly, social networking can be very advantageous. It can put you in front of an enormous number of people in your own neighborhood and around the world. Just make sure you follow these two basic rules.

Rule 1: Your participation is limited. In other words, as one of my confidants advised me some time ago, limit yourself to no more than a few minutes per day.
Rule 2: Make sure what you are contributing is of interest and benefit.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. Social networking on hobby sites is something totally different.

On professional sites such as the Perfect Practice Web forum, if we had more doctors participate we’d start to see the benefits of sharing instantaneously.

If nothing else comes of this discussion, at the very least, take a look at our forum. Post something interesting. Post questions about things you need help on or recommendations for vendors and suppliers. There is no limit to what you can share. As long as it’s done in a professional and timely manner, everybody in the group will benefit.

So, lets cover some of the more common social networking sites, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I’d like to discuss each of them a little bit at a time. They’re all very important, and each has its place.

With regard to online social networks, Facebook is the most widely used in North America. Nexopia is used predominantly in Canada. Other social networking sites include MySpace, Tagged, Highfive, Bebo, Skyrock, Orkut, etc. Other sites that are also widely used around the world are Friendster and Cyworld.

There are so many sites that you can go to. I urge doctors to participate in those forums that will provide visibility and the opportunity to have a professional but friendly image. Facebook would be number one on my list, not only in my personal experience but in the experience of the other people in the field we talk with every day.

Another advantage of Facebook is that you can link videos and blogs to it. You can do this with other sites as well, but Facebook is so hardwired in through Google that the opportunities are limited only by your imagination and your financial resources.

MySpace is similar to Facebook. We have found it to be not quite as popular when we survey other professionals.

Twitter, on the other hand, is a fun site that can allow you to put yourself in front of thousands and thousands of people quickly.

The caveat with all these sites, but especially for the first three mentioned, is to understand that when you post, it is permanent. You have to make sure this information gets disseminated. It can be used against you. God forbid something unintentional gets posted on a particular site. Keep in mind that all your post are subject to the highest level of public scrutiny. One of the scariest things now, not just for healthcare professionals but other people, is that Facebook and other online posts are being used against them in legal matters.

Be professional, cautious and intelligent about what you’re doing.

The next site is LinkedIn. This site is pretty cool. It seems to be a little bit more difficult to get into. It takes a little bit more time with regard to networking, simply because it is professionals.

LinkedIn regularly send emails updates of what’s going on with other members of your network.

It also keeps us inform of what’s happening with the other online communities. For example, if you take a look at allied professions and what’s going on online, it gives us a great idea of what we should be doing.

Get yourself up and running. Get out there. I encourage everyone, members and guest doctors. Get yourself listed to each others Facebook Friends Lists!!!

This will have tremendous benefit. You automatically get more exposure on-line, just from linking with us and your profession and others on Facebook.

Be professional, friendly and proud, and take some time with it.