As social media embeds itself firmly into modern life, some physicians are using it as a professional forum. In a recent Medscape video commentary, contributor Robert A. Harrington, MD, noted that hashtags like #CardioTwitter have robust followings online. They help physicians communicate with each other and keep up on the latest research. Harrington says he considers Twitter a good means of “democratization, peer review, debate, and dissent in this environment, and digital truth.”
Meanwhile, in a separate Medscape video commentary, Michelle L. O’Donoghue, MD, admits she was slow to use social media for professional purposes but now that she does, she likes the fact that “she can quickly log in and see which publications people are talking about and get a feeling for people’s reactions to particular trials or new breakthroughs.” She, too, considers the social media platform a great equalizer.
However, O’Donoghue does express some reservations about the way physicians sometimes behave on Twitter. Often, the discussion is being largely dominated by a handful of vocal individuals.
“Does that negatively influence our opinions on scientific publications that are quite valuable when the conversation might be derailed by certain individuals?” she asks. “On the flip side, it can create a lot of enthusiasm for topics that people might have otherwise ignored.”