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Social Neighborhoods: How Many Can A Doctor Have?

Recently I was speaking to some physicians about social media. As we discussed the evolution of public social platforms and physician-specific networks the question came up: “How many social networks can a doctor have?” In other words, if a doctor dedicates time to Facebook and Twitter, will he or she then also spend time on Sermo, iMedExchange, or Doximity? This is an important question if you’re in the business of attracting doctors to a specific network.

As part of the attention crash, we’re facing the reality of human bandwith. We can only socialize in so many places. I always tell physicians starting out to pick their social spaces carefully. You can only dedicate so much time to social. For me, my attention is spent here on 33 charts and on Twitter. I’ve been tempted to get into podcasting, video and other media, but time is a limited commodity.

And so it goes for physician networks. For the nascent physician network, the money may be with those doctors who haven’t “discovered” public social media. In other words, those doctors who haven’t commited to a social home. This is the “socially naïve physician” as I sometimes call them. These may include those docs who use Facebook for personal reasons (reasonably high numbers) but have deliberately steered clear of any professional/soft professional dialog. I’m beginning to think that the development of communities centered around a specialty or problem are likely to create a more compelling value proposition for the socially reticent physician.

But the socially savvy MD will come to a specific network for a reason. These reasons are likely to include a new set of relationships, the rekindling of old medical relationships, new dialog or content that’s unique or specifically curated for their interests.

Fragmentation of the attention span will continue to challenge those looking to capture the hearts and minds of physicians in the digital space. The spoils will go to those who create unusual value and a remarkable user experience.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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