When it comes to the social media landscape, doctors are scarce. Few on Twitter and fewer with blogs. Maybe we’re socially lazy. Or maybe we’re just taking it all in.
Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation caught my eye last week with his article “In Praise of Lazy” and reminded me that despite the how we may want to see things, most of us aren’t interested in creating content. In fact, he describes a 1 percent rule — only 1 percent of the audience will take time to actually create content.
I suspect that if we were to take the time and do the survey properly, we would find that physicians too are largely new media consumers — or spectators, joiners or collectors in the Forrester sense of the word. Physicians, in fact, might adhere to something of a 0.1 percent rule. Like Peter Sellers as “Chance the Gardner” in the 1979 classic, Being There, we “like to watch.”
I did an experiment recently. I emailed a half dozen of my colleagues and asked them to peek at a recent controversial 33 Charts post and then offer their comments below the post. Not one did. However, four emailed their thoughts — passionate, insightful stuff. When I asked why they wouldn’t formally comment, they demurred. They expressed a mishmash of concerns over their privacy and “being seen.”
Doctors have a real problem with this kind of transparent exposure. They’re willing to listen, it seems. But dialogue’s another issue. So maybe it isn’t Sermo’s design after all, but rather the social constitution of the MD.
This is really unfortunate. Collectively, physicians have a voice that could be leveraged for real change on a variety of levels. I have several docs in my referral area in Houston who would thrive on the process of putting their life experience and passion into print, sound, or video.
While I don’t think we should expect to ever see large numbers of physicians creating content, will this change? Probably:
Education. The role of social in public health and education needs to be part of primary medical school training. Medical students should be actively involved in the creation of media and the dialog it creates.
Exposure. Those of us involved in this medium need to share it with our colleagues. It will take somewhere somehow.
Evolution. Patience is also a strategy. Physicians are late adopters. Look for this pattern of watching over creating to change over the coming decade.
Your thoughts? Especially if you’re a physician and you’re willing to talk (email not accepted).
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*