Professor Sarah Mojarad is a lecturer at the University of Southern California where she holds joint- faculty appointments in Viterbi School of Engineering and Keck School of Medicine. We discussed why we should act online like our first-grade teacher is reading all of our tweets and even our emails. Her areas of expertise are in social media, science communication, and online medical professionalism. Prior to joining USC, Professor Mojarad was at Caltech where she co-created the course “Social Media for Scientists” and now she teaches us Social Media for Physicians. It’s believed to be the first course of its kind to educate students on the issues and opportunities of social media-based science communication. You can find her at smojarad.com and @Sarah_Mojarad on Twitter.
She gave us some tips for communicating complicated medical information – keep it simple, but include links to your bibliography. We talked about how pseudoscience and purveyors of misinformation gain traction by tugging at heartstrings and that we may be able to use those tools for good. In the end, our real audience, the ones who are really listening, may not be who it seems, it is the unseen lurkers, so get out there and don’t let the trolls get you down.
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Professor Sarah mo dread is a lecturer at the University of Southern California, where she joint faculty appointments in the Viterbi School of Engineering and Keck School of Medicine. We discussed why we should all act online like our first grade teachers reading all of our tweets, and even our emails, her area of expertise or in social media, science, communication, and online medical professionalism. Prior to joining USC, Sarah was at Cal Tech where she co created the course social media for scientists, and now she’s teaching us social media for physicians. It’s believed to be the first course of its kind to educate students on the issues and opportunities of social media based science communication. So in today’s show, she gave us some tips for communicating complicated medical information. Keep it simple, but include links to the bibliography in case someone wants to take a deeper dive. We talked about how pseudoscience and the purveyors of misinformation online gain traction by tugging at heartstrings and that we may be able to use those tools for good in the end, our real audience The ones who are really listening may not be the ones who it seems. It’s the unseen lurkers. So get out there, and don’t let the trolls get you down.
Welcome to the physicians guide to doctoring A Practical Guide for practicing physicians, Dr. Bradley Block interviews experts in and out of medicine to find out everything we should have been learning while we were memorizing kreb cycle. The ideas expressed on this podcast are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not represent those of their respective employers.
And now, here’s Dr. Bradley Block.
Professor Sarah mogera. Thanks so much for being on the podcast.
Hey, thanks for having me.
So first, let’s discuss the different platforms. I was kind of saying this in jest, but then you sent me back a serious article about it. Should we all just be exclusively on Snapchat, right? Should we be on Snapchat? Or should we be delving into those other other platforms as well,
I know I had to laugh when I saw that because people never really know what to do with snapshot. And so I did some digging to see how that platform is actually being used in an educational context. And I found this really interesting study that was conducted in northern Saudi Arabia. And what they did was use the platform to raise awareness for breast cancer. And it turned out to be a very effective way of disseminating information. So yeah, I don’t know if you’re going to post that or not. But it’s I appreciated that question.
Yeah, no, I’m happy to link to that article. So how did they do it? How did they manage to utilize that platform that I only see as being used for the silly photo filters?
Yeah, so they used it to raise awareness about breast cancer and the way that they did that was by pushing different videos and different images and texts. And users, the people who participated in the study. Were then receiving that content throughout the day. And I believe it was. Don’t quote me on this, but I think it was a two week study. And it involves around 200 people.
So for the rest of us that aren’t aren’t using that we just, you know, perceive it. I’m 40. So, you know, I just see people in their teens and early 20s using it that way. I don’t not quite there yet. In terms of using it educationally. I’m basically on Twitter. Actually, a couple of weeks ago, we had someone on the show who has her own podcast, she’s an allergist, and she said, Brad, you have to get on Instagram. If you want to publicize your show and increase awareness that it’s out there. You have to get an Instagram. No, no, I’m on. I’m on Twitter, and that’s where I encountered you, right. That’s how we meet and that’s how I’m meeting a lot of other physicians and non physicians in this space. So each have their own reasons for using these different platforms. But But what’s what’s your take on the utility Each one for science education,
well, they, they’re all very different, and they attract a different audience. So I’m very biased. I’m like you, I really enjoy using Twitter. I like the discussions that are happening there. So it’s a great platform for engaging other people in academia and in medicine. And it’s very easy to find those conversations using specific hashtags. And the reason why I love it too, is I can be walking between two buildings, and I could quickly be putting out a tweet, the time saying for me is very low. But then you compare that to say something like blogging, where you would probably sit down for a few hours to put together a blog post that can be appealing for somebody who prefers communicating in that format. And the audience there is going to be very different as well. Now with Instagram. I’m actually kind of curious why you decided not to test out and Instagram because just
my limited time yeah right like if I’m one of my favorite sayings is every time you say yes to something you’re saying no to something else. So there’s nothing right now that I’m willing to say no to. Because I’m you know, I’m enjoying Twitter for the most part when I don’t fall down the rabbit hole and it’s very easy for me to post the episodes on on Facebook although I don’t really have a lot of engagement there. Right? I don’t have people commenting on on Facebook, because I don’t have a Facebook group. But I you know, I don’t want to make this all about me. It seems like everybody’s got their own Facebook group now. And that’s like that’s becoming a thing, or it’s already become a thing. I guess once it’s become a thing. It’s already passe. But yeah, I just because I it’s just more time.
Yeah, I can understand that. It is a very social media in general can be a time sink. But Instagram is interesting to me because it’s where I’m seeing to be honest with you the most problems that are occurring in social media. Medicine, Instagram tends to be very millennial and younger audience focused. So the the photos that are posted there tend to be very polished photoshopped, and it’s all about the image. That’s how you’re going to get your followers. So outside of outside of medicine, that’s, I think, can be very innocent. But when you combine discussions about medications, and there’s people in white coats who are promoting different products, then I think it becomes a bit of a bit of an issue. Yeah, that’s, that’s the biggest difference I see too, between Twitter and Instagram in the context of medicine.
I mean, I can post on Twitter some content about our conversation, and say, This is what this episode is about. I just don’t know what picture to post like, I’m just gonna post another picture of me. I’m you know, that’s not really my thing. So I guess I could post a picture of the guest but yeah, I just I just don’t see how to work in the whole the whole picture. But what you’re saying is when people do that can end up being deceptive in a way?
Yes. And there’s actually somebody who I will not highlight on this episode who has been doing that for years. And it’s been, it’s been an issue, hopefully an isolated one, as far as I can see that that’s in case. So. So one of
the things you do is you you lecture to medical students about this specific topic? And so what are some of the pitfalls that you see with a medical professional or even a medical student who’s got some pre professional communicating with the lay public? What are some of those pitfalls? So I
think the biggest issue is that when people are entering into medical school, they they have to be aware of the fact that they are now becoming professionals. And I know that sounds very obvious, but with medicine, there’s once you’re a physician, you’re a physician. There’s no clocking out that. So I think that’s the biggest concern with an online presence is just being aware that no matter what if you’re in the hospital, if it’s the weekend and you’re not working, that MD carries weight, and that translates to an online presence, so students that are going into medical school, they’ve never had to really consider this too deeply. So what I do with the first year medical students is I’ve done these three hour workshops, where it’s in small groups, and I provide them opportunities to look through these case studies and determine for themselves what they perceive to be professional and unprofessional. So finding cases on each of the different social media platforms and saying, hey, look what this person’s doing. This is a really interesting way that they’re presenting themselves. What do you think of it, and I let them come to their own conclusion about whether or not what they’re doing is appropriate or inappropriate, and it’s created these really fascinating conversations and I’ve just enjoyed facilitating them. So when I speak to a guest spoke at a critical care conference a few months ago, what I’ve been doing with those types of audiences is presenting to them and saying, This is my approach in medical school. And I think this really needs to be taught more broadly. Because I think residency programs and hospitals can really benefit from having this content out there. Especially because there There seems to be two different camps, people who are on social media, and people who are off social media. So at this conference that I was at, I think half the audience was over the age of 65, and avoided social media their whole lives. So they were completely unaware of what was happening. And yeah, I just think that having these conversations and being able to teach about what issues and opportunities are available has been really great. Powerful.
So when you’re when you’re teaching the medical students, is there anything that you find that they’re reluctant to accept? In terms of who, who they’ve decided they’re going to be? Right? Like they’re used to posting themselves, possibly drunk at a party while in college. And now a year later, they’re suddenly supposed to be a completely different person, at least online. So do you find that they’re resistant at all? Are they open to embracing it? What are the what are some of the road bumps that you see some of the resistance that you see from them?
So what’s been most interesting for me is when I’m teaching the first year students, they all really appreciate that there’s this almost collectiveness to it. We’re all in medicine and we all want to represent the field appropriately, somewhere in the education and I’m not sure how or why this is happening. But when I work with students that are in the third year That shifts they become very focused on. I am an individual and I have my freedom of speech and I should be able to exercise it no matter what.
Yeah, I can tell you why. Because as soon as you enter the hospital, you lose your name and you become a med student. There’s nowhere for you to stand. That’s not the wrong place to stand. You don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. So they’re, they’re suddenly you know, it. They’re used to being at the top of the class and captain of the team. And, you know, maybe there’s some camaraderie in the first and second years, but then the third year, then you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, and it is a terrible feeling so I can see why they’re wanting to find an identity for themselves online.
Hmm, that’s interesting. Thank you for sharing that.
That would be my explanation. I don’t know you know, this is I’m a ways away from that. But that’s, that’s what I remember from third year medical school. And hopefully it’s evolved. But I don’t know how much something like medicine can evolve that quickly. Mm hmm.
Yeah. So it’s just it’s an interesting topic to explore too, because I think social media, it’s such an individual preference. So some people are going to feel more comfortable with putting more out there about themselves versus others who want to keep it strictly professional. My, my biggest thing is really making sure that there’s space to have those conversations and come to a conclusion that’s really thought out. So oftentimes, growing up as a digital native people, when they’re kids, they’re not really thinking about what they’re posting. They’re just posting, and you fast forward to being in medical school, that whole digital history is out there. So I really like to make sure people are aware of it and that they can become more mindful of what message they’re currently putting out there into the world.
Keep in mind, you may someday be running for office and someone will find all that stuff. Do you have any general rules like don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your patient or your mom to see or something like that, that that we can all just keep in the back of our heads before we’re posting anything,
I really encourage people to think about what they’re posting from multiple perspectives. So yeah, like you just said, a parent or a patient. When I do these case studies with them, I actually sit them down and say, is this appropriate if you saw another student in the class posting something like this? Okay, what about if somebody else was doing this, like the head of medical education or a somebody on a residency committee? Would you still feel comfortable with that content? And I also really encourage people to not be that any sort
of digital overly curated, oh, yeah,
we can go that direction. The overly curated content is actually it’s very concerning. To me, it comes across as not being authentic. And everybody seems to be wanting to be a social media influencer right now. So a little concerned about that.
Oh, yeah, that’s the new professional athlete, I guess. Although, in some ways it looks like it takes less work for professional athlete, at least you can tell that they’re spending tons and tons of time honing their craft, on being a Instagram model looks like all you do is you wake up looking like that and eat your cereal looking like that. And, yeah, but but I’d actually like to change the focus of the interview. So because because everyone’s gonna have their own moral compass when they’re deciding what’s right and what’s wrong and, and I definitely appreciate that it’s now being taught at least in some medical schools, so that it gets the students at least thinking about it, whereas they may not have had context to think about it before. But let’s let’s change the topic a little to the effectiveness of communicating medical information over social media because it’s an uphill battle. For us, right? You’ve got this, these industries out there whose job it is to tell people what they want to hear, right? Put this on your skin, and you’ll look younger, do this and you’ll lose weight. Do that. And you’ll attract the opposite sex, right? And it’s or you’ll be healthier, however you define healthier, right? And it’s very seductive. Because mostly it’s baloney. Right? Whereas us as physicians, it’s our job to tell people what they don’t want to hear, but what they need to hear, right? Sometimes we have the benefit of being able to tell people things that are easy to hear, right? That thing that you have is not cancer, great news, but sometimes, right? What we’re telling them is going to take hard work or it’s just not what they want to hear. So how do we want to communicate medical information that is tough to hear? And then from that we can talk about communicating medical information that’s even complicated to understand. So So first, what about the how do we how do we get across these these tougher messages?
Yeah, it’s a really, it’s a difficult topic to explore. And I know that in the social sciences right now, there’s a lot of research into how to communicate effectively, and make sure that your message is really understood. And right now, I think that’s a complicated topic and medicine because as a physician, you would never want to come across as giving medical advice on the internet, because that just opens up all sorts of issues. But there’s also a tendency to be very technical with the communication, because going through all the training that physicians go through, it’s it’s very important to be impersonal and objective with your information. But the content that is are what makes misinformation and disinformation so persuasive, is that it’s subjective and emotional. And that’s just a whole different world. But more and more research is coming out that indicates you have to have some of this personal vasive communication with the technical in order for it to be effective with these general audiences? Oh,
thank you for saying that, because I put out a tweet a while ago, and it wasn’t met with resistance. But I said, should doctors be taught persuasion? And and a lot of the responses I got were, well, you know, I think you should just be open with your patients and give them all the information and let you know, let them decide and kind of help them along the way. And I don’t agree with that. I think yes, you’re, well, anytime we’re giving them information. We’re framing it in such a way that we’re trying to make a case for what they should be doing. But I think it would also be who has to have a little bit of ability in that department because, I mean, for instance, patients of mine come in thinking that they’re having sinus problems and it turns out, they’re having migraines that are giving them sinus pressure. Now that feels like there’s a problem with your sinuses. It really feels that it feels like your sinuses are going to explode, but it’s not as sinus infection. It’s a variant of migraine, and to get them to, to stop believing that they’re a sinus, they might believe that they’ve had sinus problems for the last 20 years, how, you know, it’s not an easy thing to do to get them to do something that will give them relief, right? Because that’s, that’s all I’m trying to do is get them to feel better. And I think some some persuasion would be helpful. Do you have any? And this is not necessarily even in the realm of social media, but in general, I think I heard you say once, you know, telling stories, stories are powerful, is that a good way to to try and convey our information in a more effective way?
Definitely. And with this example, you just used an area that I’m most excited about with communication right now, especially in medicine is the use of augmented reality and virtual reality. And this case would be perfect. So you’re trying to convince a patient that they have a migraine and it’s not an issue with their sinesses if you have the ability to put that person into a VR That, that shows what’s actually happening, then maybe they can leave that consultation feeling like they they have reasoning and rationale behind why you’re saying that. So definitely narrative plays into it. And I hope in the future technology can really be an asset to
so you also mentioned that we tend to get too technical and that the snake oil salesmen are seductive because they pull pull at the heartstrings. So how do we, how do we make it less technical, right, because some of these, like if you’re understanding how chemotherapy works, right, how do you explain that to a patient and convince them that that’s the right thing and not rubbing linseed oil on their skin? like someone’s trying to sell them?
That’s that’s tough because you don’t want to dumb it down. On you want to be authentic to your message, but at the same time, there’s a technicality of the topic. But that patient has the ability to go home and check with Dr. Google. So it’s, it’s tough. I don’t have any answers off the top of my head because I think being able to Google things and how open information is whether it’s credible or not really makes medicine a very complicated area.
And so let’s go back to social media since that’s, that’s really your area of expertise. So if we’re trying to disseminate medical information there, right, not give someone medical advice, but just say, right, there’s there’s an advanced in this area, or there’s an advanced in that area. How do we can we use like cases perhaps, to try to make our information more relatable?
I think so. cases are a good way to go, especially if they are somebody that is recognizable in the public eye. So that could be an option. But I if we’re thinking about Instagram, I think Pat Judging information in a way that’s easy to be viewing, like the like a meme, for instance. And then having those captions so that it really drills down into more of the details is a good way to go. And making sure that information is linked to appropriate sources. So if somebody does want to dig a little bit deeper, they can. I’m not sure if that addresses your question. I
think so. So So, like finding a way to make it a bite sized bit of information, palatable, understandable, but then with links to the more complicated maybe, you know, trials to or or the CDC website or something like that. So that if the patient does want to take a deeper dive, right, and this gets to like, this gets to Twitter and Instagram, where it’s all little bytes of information, so you can, you can just put so it was saying is, make sure that it’s understandable and palatable, but at the same time, make sure that it Has credibility by linking to some trusted source?
Yeah. And so an example I know people always love examples, a physician that I think is doing amazing work on Instagram is Dr. Alan cadabby. And he is a immunologist in the Los Angeles area, and I love his presence because he does follow this sort of Wednesday a meme format, but it kind of is when you’re scrolling through a feed because it’s just the photos and the text with it. And then it’s it’s not the selfies and things like that, that we were talking about it beginning of this episode, so
So what type of give us give me some examples of what types of pictures he puts out there. I’m not on Instagram. So it’s not like I’m on there looking at examples, but just it boggles my mind, what types of pictures people could be using. So what what types of pictures
are mostly interesting articles and the titles to these articles. So for instance, I just pulled one up boarding now parents of children with nut allergies. And then he goes through and basically summarizes what that article is about. Others using
text. It’s just text, not pictures.
He does have videos on here, one that I liked from last year was demonstrating how to use nav even. And I thought that was that was smart. It was incredibly helpful and informative, but it’s not providing medical advice. So
yeah, yeah, you can’t get an epi pen without a physician prescription. So
it’s tough because sometimes people come into the comments and they find that you’re a specialist and they want to ask you these questions that they should not be doing. So being able to manage that I think is important.
Yeah, I think you need a standard response for something like that. Like it you just need like a rubber stamp. Like I apologize. This is not the venue for that that happened to me once when I was giving a lecture on sinusitis at the end at the end. It was barrage with. So I’ve got this bupkis in the back of my throat, you know, like things like that. And I’m sorry you’ll have to make, but it’s sometimes seems self serving, right? Like, I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to make an appointment. And then it seems like well, I just want your copay. I don’t want to give you advice, right? It’s, it’s you have to spend it in such a way that it’s not perceived as self serving.
Yeah. And must be so frustrating when it happens because, you know, there’s liabilities associated with that you can’t just be giving out advice freely, even though somebody in the audience insisted on it.
Oh, yeah. And it burns me up that everyone’s Twitter account has to say something like, retweets are not medical advice is it’s just come on. The fact that we need to put that in there seems just preposterous, but there it is. Yeah. There are doctors out there with burner accounts. So I’d like to be I’d like to hear what your your thoughts are on that. Like, for instance, I was just at my hospital learning how to use epic because my hospital was bought out by NYU. According to epic, and it seems actually pretty user friendly to me. But there is an epic parody account out there that the that is doesn’t identify the physician, but it’s just basically it’s parodying all EMRs to begin with, and it’s very funny, but right, it’s anonymous. So what are your thoughts on on burner accounts for physicians on anonymous accounts? Is there a danger out there? Is it is it going to make us lose trust of the public? So
I think this epic parody EMR account is actually pretty hilarious. I didn’t go too deep into the feed to read through it. But I thought this was funny and I didn’t really jeopardize the trust of the public has and medicine, because it’s, it’s talking about something relatable and it’s not at the expense of anyone else. So you see a different side to epic, and I think most patients wouldn’t really be seeing it as problematic, but People are poking fun at the platform. But you know, there are other burner accounts where it’s just somebody who’s very frustrated with the system is having a really difficult time. And they’re using this as a way to get their voice out there that can be concerning in the sense that what’s happening in the system where somebody would have to go to that extent to be able to, to feel heard, and why are they afraid to be having those discussions? So it’s, yeah, it definitely can violate the public’s trust and medicine. But at the same time, I like to take a step back and say, let’s not necessarily say this person is wrong. Let’s look at the bigger picture.
Is there a danger for the individual right because this the I’m pretty sure it’s a male because I’ve heard him on another podcast during the epic parody. If he gets discovered, they might tell him to take it down, but I don’t think he’s in danger of losing his job. Right or losing or working. is getting investigated by the Office of professional medical conduct or something like that. But I think there are accounts out there where you really could if you were discovered the ramifications of that could really be career ending. So I mean, how anonymous can these accounts really be?
Nothing is ever anonymous. And if one aspect that I go through when I train people to is just because it feels like a private interaction online doesn’t mean it necessarily is. Things can be screenshotted shared, you don’t know who, who could potentially have access to your computer, your email, things like that. So don’t fall under the illusion that just because it’s private to you is private to everybody. I mean, what happened within the last 48 hours? I don’t know if you saw my tweets that just went out. Recently. His interaction between a New York Times op ed columnist and a professor at George Washington, did you see this?
No, I didn’t. I was stuck in the computer lab. Learning epic. Okay, well, yeah, can my Twitter feed? So I was in a good, good boy.
That’s fair. Yeah, it was just this really bizarre situation. But to keep it short, a couple of emails were screenshotted and shared online and they did go viral. So
come on, tell us tell me a little more. What do you want on this? Gotta be in it. Yeah, this sounds like an interesting
story. Okay, so basically what happened is this New York Times columnist, and he posted something about a bedbug issue and New York. And this professor at GW followed up with a tweet. It wasn’t even using the guy’s handle on he said that the New York Times columnist was a bedbug himself. And this got almost no attention on Twitter. Zero retweets, nine likes. And that’s it. Well, the New York Times columnist, he ended up getting a hold of the professor’s email, he sends him an email saying, you know, that comment was appropriate. I am inviting you to my house to meet my wife to meet my kids to have dinner with us. And then, you know, I dare you to call me a bedbug. So, that email, he has CC, the provost of GW on it. So it became this whole issue and the email was screenshotted and shared on Twitter. That right now has 35 point 6000 likes and over 4000 retweets. And the follow up was, the professor went on to write a couple of op eds. All of that happened within 24 hours. Then finally, GW they released on their Twitter account, the email that the Provost wrote Following up, and it’s just it’s hilarious because he says, You know, I invite you to come to our campus to speak about civil discourse in the digital age. And please reach out if that’s of interest. so fascinating that this all just happened. And but yeah, the moral of the story being anything can be screenshotted and share.
Yeah, I remember when I was in college, and it was the first year that the freshmen dorms had Ethernet. So there was an email that went viral. And I just remember the title is, and you can google this Chong is king. This is a guy, I think he was in finance. He was transferred to maybe a different country and was doing very well socially and apparently sexually, and was bragging to his friends about it. And that email ended up going viral. I guess that was probably one of the first things To go viral, and you know, it cost him quite a lot. So, you know more to your point. Everything can you know, be Be very careful, even with emails even with the most. Okay, so this is all the stuff that can make us lose the trust of the public. How do we use social media to regain the trust of the public? Because with all the vaccine hesitancy and you know, concerns that doctors are in the pocket of Big Pharma, and people, you know, we don’t we don’t have the trust that we once did. So I feel like social media is a really powerful tool that we can use to regain that trust. How can we use it in that way? For To that end?
Yeah, I think that it can be and I don’t have any concrete advice in terms of what to do. But I will say some of the things that people should not be doing to combat this misinformation is being rude and combative and I No with vaccines, for instance, this is a very hot topic online. And it’s it’s a concerning one because I know physicians in the medical community overall feel very frustrated with this. It’s a no brainer get your kids vaccinated. So when they see or hear people saying, No, no, I’m not going to do that, because vaccines are unsafe. Of course, you want to go after that logic and say, you know, you’re completely wrong, what’s what’s wrong with you, but actually trying to come in and say, Here are the facts. And that’s why this should combat misinformation. It’s a well known model called the deficit model, and that just does not work. What it ends up doing is it actually reinforces these myths, and that’s called the backfiring effect. So I think being able to put information out there and do so in a respectful way, is really, really important. And when people come with these questions, especially on a public forum, Making sure to be listening to it. And instead of just shutting the person down and saying, nope, you’re wrong, which tends to happen. So I don’t know, I feel like social media is the best place for people who are maybe skeptical. They haven’t really figured out which side of the argument they’re standing on. So in thinking about posting to that audience, you want to really be respectful and make sure that the language does have a component of persuasiveness in it.
And I think also, you’re speaking not to the individual who posted the reply, but rather to the lurkers. So if you get angry and post something inflammatory, what does that going to say to the lurker? But if you can be level headed and respectful, then the lurker is going to read that and you’re more likely to persuade that person I think,
exactly, yeah. So you’re never gonna encounter that audience or if you do, it might be They feel more comfortable sending a DM. So if if somebody were to just fly off the handle, well, that could be the thing that’s persuading them to be anti Vax. Because now now they’ve seen the way doctors are talking to anti vaxxers. And that’s something that they don’t want to encounter. So you just never know what people’s perspectives are, where they’re coming from.
So is there any other pieces of advice rather big or small that you would give to doctors that are either seasoned in social media or just starting to dip their toes into social media, on how to interact with the lay public?
I think for folks who are more seasoned, it’s important to almost show that you are somebody who is willing to coach and guide others who are less experienced, and this could be something that is offline as well as online. I think a lot of people are very scared to enter into the conversation because The perception of physicians just is very different from other professions. So showing a willingness to be open. And in a public forum, having discussions is really good. And seeing the shift happened more recently in social media is is something new and great, but it’s going to need other people who are established right now to be welcoming new voices. So I definitely encourage that. And also for people who are new to the platforms, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. And don’t be afraid to experiment. People who are doing well and have massive amounts of followers is because they’ve experimented and figured out what’s working for them. Since we’re at a place where we don’t really know yet. What information resonates best on social media in terms of medical information and science community I really want to just to figure out our own personal formulas and see what works and what doesn’t.
And my advice would be for the physicians out there, you’re an expert. Just because you didn’t write the textbook doesn’t mean you’re not an expert. And I think there’s a lot of imposter syndrome. This term goes out a lot goes on a lot in medicine, where you feel like, you’re suddenly going to be discovered that you’re not really an expert that you shouldn’t have been here to begin with. But you’re an expert, whatever your field is, you’re the expert. And so if you’re not comfortable posting, then lurk for a while. But, you know, get get in the game, get in the game. It’s a it’s a big time sink, it’s a big time sink. So be prepared for falling down the rabbit hole quite a few times and losing sleep. But
try not to do that. But recognize that you’re an expert and the world needs your expertise. Absolutely. And communicating online also makes you a better communicator, face to face because you you’re practicing how to get a message across to different audiences. So on that aspects, I know the lurking can definitely be a time sink. If you’re actually out there and putting that information in front of people, then there’s some experience that comes with it.
One final question I heard you say on another podcast that you’ve been to Monsanto. So my question is, did you when you came out, did you come out genetically modified?
I did not. I was the same or maybe I did. I was the same person that who went there. And yeah, I spent two days at their headquarters. And it was just an absolutely fascinating visit. Being able to speak with their communications team and then also see the science behind it. Yeah, I fell in love with how their community or how they work communicating because they really honed into this Whole lurker aspects and that they’re not engaging people online who they know, are very anti GMO. They’re aiming for people who haven’t quite figured out where they stand on the topic.
And I would imagine with all of their countless funds that they have the ability to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Yeah, yeah, they they have this cnn type, communication, and center where they were keeping a pulse on all the different conversations that were happening around the world involving their brand, and that we didn’t really get too far into the weeds on how, what their strategy is, but it is very much so multipronged on every platform they’re on and then they’ve also the information easily digestible, very colorful use of graphics designs. So yeah, it was fascinating and it kind of plays into the whole aspect of We need a lot of physicians online talking about their expertise, because it could be that something that someone identifies with how a physician is communicating on Instagram, but not so much on Twitter. So really making sure all those voices are on these different platforms and communicating at different levels as well. Oh, great. So now I’ve got
to get on Instagram to some.
No, you’re doing great. See, I work in social media full time. So I have a presence on every single one of them. But I think it’s important that if you want to be online and doing something well pick one and stick to that because other people okay,
I’m out. Not on. I’m off Instagram. Not on. Okay. Thank you. Well, Professor Sarah mudra. And thank you so much for taking the time to teach us all about how we can get onto social media and be effective on social media.
You’re welcome. Thanks so much.
That was Dr. Bradley Block at the physicians. Guide to doctoring. He can be found at physicians guide to doctoring calm, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a question for previous guests or have an idea for a future episode, send a comment on the webpage. Also, please be sure to leave a five star review on your preferred podcast platform. We’ll see you next time on the physicians guide to doctoring.
Today’s guest is not an attorney, accountant or financial advisor and neither am I. This information should not be considered personalized financial advice, and we will not be held liable for the use of any information contained within this interview. It is your responsibility to verify anything you’ve heard using other trusted and reputable resources.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai