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A Physician’s Social Media Guidelines

It’s no secret that I am an advocate of the strategic use of social media in healthcare marketing.  The tools allow us as  to reach and engage our targeted audience(s) directly, personally and without minimal cost.  However, social media doesn’t come without consequences.  One controversial tweet and your followers may no longer respect your professional viewpoint.  This leads to the question: How should physicians police themselves in the social media sphere?  Dr. Bryan Vartabedian recently blogged about the eight ways he stays professional on social media.  You can find his post here: http://33charts.com/2010/11/professional-social-media.html.

Dr. Vartabedian’s eight guidelines include understanding his boundaries and remaining aware of the fact that everyone’s watching.  One of my personal favorites is his fourth guideline: “I don’t drink and Tweet.”   It’s important to be levelheaded when utilizing social media or you may regret that angry tweet the next day. Frankly, it is the same rule I apply to email messages. Dr. Vartabedian keeps an open dialog with his employer and more importantly, listens to the response of his dialog.   He understands that sometimes it may be necessary to do a little tweeking.

Communication is a two-way street. Don’t just talk, listen. And engage. Definitely check out Dr. Vartabedian’s post  on his 33 Charts blog here: http://33charts.com/2010/11/professional-social-media.html. This is good advice for any of us posting content via social media.

Post by Dan Dunlop with Stephanie Cohen, UNC-Chapel Hill Student and Jennings Intern

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