One of the intricacies about social media I find most fascinating is the vast difference in adoption between therapeutic areas.
Take mental health, for example. There are far more patients, patient advocates, and care-delivery organizations involved in social media conversation about mental health than there are clinicians. In all fairness, the sensitivity involved with mental health topics like anxiety and depression is one reason for that imbalance, as is concern for the impact that social contact and responsiveness (or lack of) has on the relationships between patients and mental health clinicians.
Yet consider other therapeutic areas as well. Neurology, podiatry, dermatology, whatever. No other area can claim the same high-quality conversation, debate, sharing, and engagement in social media that oncology has.
Sure, you can certainly find clinicians in those other areas involved in the social media conversation that takes place. Yet you can’t find them in either the impressive numbers or stature that oncology offers.
And it all starts at the top.
Consider this my personal welcome to Dr. George W. Sledge Jr., your Immediate Past President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, who is now a regular blog contributor on this very website. In his first article, he comments on the lack of appreciation oncologists have for the history of your profession.
It’s impactful that the leaders in the field of oncology embrace social media and take to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more to participate in conversation. The very organization that leads oncologists, ASCO itself, has been incredibly forward-thinking and adept at encouraging, embracing and harnessing the social conversation that takes place during its events and beyond. It even offers its own online community, ASCO Connection, where conversation and content on all areas of oncology can be found. Dr. Sledge is a frequent contributor there too.
And even though Dr. Sledge lays out valid reasons that drive the oncologist’s lack of appreciation for history, I think it’ll be different moving forward. When we all look back at the start of impactful social media conversation and its effects on healthcare and clinical practice, oncologists will be able to say they led the way. And that’s a chapter that will never fall out of date and a story that will never be missed, because you’re part of the story.
If you’re reading my blog here at Oncology Times, you’re surely interested in the Web and in what people have to say on it. Well, guess what? Since you’re in the same therapeutic area we are, we’re interested in what you have to say too.
So follow your leaders. Get onto Twitter, a blog, or somewhere else and start saying it.