Category Archives: Discussion

WSJ: Better Leadership through Social Media

Monday’s Wall Street Journal featured a great guide by Alexandra Samuel on how executives can use social media tools to be more effective leaders.  Suggestions included:

  1. “Create a Leadership Dashboard” — the idea of using aggregation tools such as Google Reader of Flipboard to pull together key business intelligence sources in one place
  2. “Stay Focused” — using productivity and collaboration tools like MindMeister and BaseCamp — or even using Pinterest as an “online vision board”
  3. “Change Channels” — escape the noise of email by sending and receiving quick urgent communications via Twitter direct message
  4. “Join a CEO-cial Network” of a small number of respected & trusted executives (5-15) in a private Twitter list, Facebook friends list or Google+ circle, and make that the first list you check whenever you sit down with any of those social tools
  5. “Build a Golf Course” — create a social space that is relaxing and restorative, that you can enjoy in those key five minutes of downtime between meetings, whether it’s a photo-sharing community or a Words With Friends game.
  6. “Amplify Your Voice” — project your charisma online through a CEO blog, Twitter feed or YouTube channel; you’ve already got the content. Turn your “read this” emails into links you share on Twitter, your key speeches into YouTube videos, and your “job well done” emails into blogposts.

Do you think these suggestions would work for executives you know?  Do you have others?


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Healthcare jobseeking, recruitment & social media

As reported by Healthcare IT News yesterday, the recruitment firm AMN Healthcare has just released the results of its second annual survey on the “Use of Social Media and Mobile by Healthcare Professionals” (2011).

Key findings indicate that the use of social media by healthcare professionals, for both job searching and professional networking, is on the rise:

  • Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents cited that they are using social media for job searching, up from 21% in 2010.
  • 48% of all healthcare professionals surveyed said they use social media for professional networking, up from 37% in 2010.
  • 11% of respondents said use of social media resulted in a job interview, 9% said it led to a job offer, and 6% found a new job through their use of social media.
  • Among the healthcare workers surveyed, the top work-related uses of social media were to access healthcare-related education (54%), followed by sharing of research or articles with colleagues (33%), and to communicate with employers (18%).
Given this rate of growth, it seems that healthcare employers who are not leveraging social media as part of their recruitment, educational and collaboration offerings will increasingly find themselves falling behind their peers.

You can review the full report below or in a new window:


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Social media professionalism: a set of principles for physicians

Last week, Dr Mark Ryan contributed a particularly insightful guest post at entitled “How to maintain physician professionalism in social media.”  Dr Ryan has been one of a number of critics of the social media guidelines adopted recently by some professional medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association.  Dr Ryan has expressed his concern that these guidelines have focused to heavily on risk mitigation and that there are no corresponding documents that discuss principles and guidelines for appropriate, positive use of social media by physicians — a sentiment I also expressed in an earlier post on this blog.

So in his guest post, Dr Ryan strikes out to draft exactly such a statement of principles. His list includes nine very practical principles regarding scope, tone, privacy, identity, content, and more.  These are very useful principles for us to consider as we create a Social Media Toolbox for the University that can be a model set of guidelines for clinicians.  Please take some time to review Dr Ryan’s post — and let us know what you think in the comments.

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Social media measurement: straight talk

Since the topic of our PrISM meetup this afternoon is social media measurement and analytics, I wanted to post this article I came across yesterday by Mark Schaefer, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions.  The post, “The Social Media Smackdown,” appeared on Schaefer’s blog grow this past Sunday, and was reposted on yesterday.

In the post, Schaefer decries some recent statements by some respected social media experts that seemed to carry an “anti-measurement bias”.  Schaefer (and many commenters) seem to understand the frustration with the insistence that the ROI (return on investment) of social media efforts must be fully supported by the numbers, but they caution against throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I found the following comment from Eric Wittlake particularly insightful:

Measure social media so you can manage it. So you can discuss it. So you can learn from it. But be very cautious if you are measuring it as a black-and-white way to decide if you should continue.

So part of the problem is that people are using social media measurement to answer the wrong questions.  Metrics are not generally the right way to answer the questions of “whether” and “why” — those come from your organization’s mission, goals, and your understanding of your audience.  Metrics are the right way to answer questions like “how”, “when” and “where” — to improve the impact and effects of your social media efforts.

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Can tweets predict citations?

The October-December 2011 issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research featured a very intriguing editorial under the title “Can Tweets Predict Citations? Metrics of Social Impact Based on Twitter and Correlation with Traditional Metrics of Scientific Impact” [PMID 22173204].  In the article, Gunther Eysenbach attempted to analyze mentions of JMIR articles on Twitter within the first 30 days of their publication, and correlate that with eventual citations by other articles.  His conclusion: “Highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles… Top-cited articles can be predicted from top-tweeted articles with 93% specificity and 75% sensitivity… Tweets can predict highly cited articles within the first 3 days of article publication.”

The appearance of the article, however, showed another effect of social media on research: intense and immediate scrutiny of new research immediately upon publication.  Shortly after Eysenbach’s article appeared, bloggers like Phil Davis at Scholarly Kitchen began to raise questions about the article’s methods and its ethics.  Eysenbach is actually the editor of JMIR, and the fact that he chose his own journal as an outlet for his research struck some as suspicious, if not improper — especially since the article’s conflict-of-interest statement revealed that JMIR had registered the domain names, and to provide services tracking the phenomenon described by the article.  Since the articles whose “twimpact” was studied by the article appeared in JMIR, a certain number of the “twittations” were automatic ones by JMIR‘s own twitter account, and the article originally included a significant number of citations of JMIR articles — which some suspected as a way of artificially influencing JMIR‘s impact figures.

Eysenbach eventually issued a correction to his own article addressing some of these concerns — but the intrigue certainly emphasizes the need for additional, independent research on the part that social media conversation is beginning  to play in the larger scholarly communications ecosystem.

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Draft for review: Statewide social media policy

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has posted a draft of a proposed Social Media Policy intended to guide state agencies and institutions of higher education in their use of social media tools to conduct official state business and communicate with citizens.

Here at the Health Science Center, we will be gathering input from faculty, staff and students, and submitting a set of comments as an institution.  However, the document appears on DIR’s “Posted for Review” page, and the DIR invites feedback from the public (via email to through March 14, 2012.  So in the interest of promoting discussion and feedback, I am posting the draft here so all of you can check it out.

What do you think?  What strengths and/or concerns do you see?

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More Social Media Grand Rounds

I was very glad to have the opportunity to present with Bridgett Piernik-Yoder at last Friday’s Grand Rounds for the School of Health Professions.  We discussed social media tools and their use in the health professions and education, along with a description of what’s been going on here at the Health Science Center for the past year or so, since PrISM began — and we had some great discussions about what the next steps might be for the SHP and the University as a whole.

Presenting those Grand Rounds reminded me about an excellent item I’ve been meaning to post here, so I’ll do it right now.  Dr Bryan Vartabedian is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine, whose 33 Charts blog is a constant source of thought-provoking and well-considered observations on the use of social media in medicine.  On December 2, 2011, he presented Pediatric Grand Rounds at Texas Children’s Hospital on physicians and social media.  A few days later, he posted a narrative version of his presentation on his 33 Charts blog, under the title “Physicians, Risk and Opportunity in the Digital Age”.  It’s a great piece and highly worthwhile reading for physicians who are both new and experienced in the social media realm.  A few key nuggets I found particularly interesting:

  • “For the better part of modern civilization our role as physician has centered around privileged access to information and knowledge.  But the web has created a type of disintermediation.  Patients can do more on their own.  They can access information and make certain judgments.  They can share information and adjust what they’re doing based on the input of others.   And the physician encounter is evolving as a more narrowly defined element in an individual’s quest to understand their condition and get better.  This health 2.0 element is fueled by social media. So in effect, what we see are a variety of social and technological forces conspiring to redefine the physician.  I believe that how we react professionally to these forces over the next generation will help shape who we become.”
  • “With respect to social media, I see two challenges facing our profession: patient privacy and professionalism. There are others we could identify but I think that these two occupy the minds of those watching doctors in public. Privacy is relatively easy. Professionalism is remarkably difficult. I’ve noticed that health institutions tend to focus on patient privacy almost at the exclusion of professionalism.”
  • “The way to train the next generation is not to prohibit the media but rather to teach how we can live with it as professionals.”
  • “Are physicians morally obligated to participate in social dialog? I first raised this question in 2009 and it generated a lot of dialog.  I’ll submit to you that as physicians we are obligated to create, curate and talk… It’s interesting that as physicians we are the first to criticize what patients read but we’re the last to create it.  Public education is part of our charge.  We have an obligation to do better.”

This question of professionalism and how it plays out in social media space is an area of very active and interesting discussions.  Dr Mark Ryan, a family medicine doctor and assistant professor at VCU, responded to Dr Vartabedian’s Grand Rounds with a blog post of his own.  Dr Ryan agreed with most of Dr Vartabedian’s ideas, but disagreed about some of the nuances of what constitutes professional behavior in a public space like social media.  He notes that professionalism does not always demand restraint; for some, it may also mean more radical transparency, advocacy, and humanity.  He also disputes Dr Vartabedian’s position that anonymous (or pseudonymous) postings online are practically always less effective, less useful and less professional than identified ones:

  • “I do think there can be value in anonymity in certain cases.  What if a physician is criticizing the practices of a major insurer, or their employer?  What if someone wishes to discuss a sensitive personal issue without self-disclosing?  Even if this cloak of secrecy is not foolproof, it can provide a safer space for such discussions.  I think the content of an account will dictate whether or not it is trusted or considered valuable–not just whether or not it is anonymous… Whistle-blowers, agitators, and critics may all have important perspectives and contributions to an issue under discussion, or might call attention to larger problems.  Raising these issues might strike some as unprofessional…raising the question of who will decide professional vs. unprofessional conduct?”

Dr Vartabedian, in turn, continues the dialogue in his comment on Dr Ryan’s post.

I encourage you to read and consider both posts as we think about what professionalism looks like in this new world.  Where do you find yourself on these issues right now?  In what ways does this new reality challenge your comfort zones?

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