Somebody once tweeted: If you are using Twitter (any networking platform), and you are not learning or inspired, you are using it wrong.
Social networks are here to stay. They have become integral part of international culture. They cross social, geographical, even religious boundaries. They can connect people what other medium can’t. Social media is no longer just a hobby. While before they are simply used to connect with families and old friends, make new friends either nearby or distant, chat online, play games, let people know what you’re up to… social media now has become an integral part of almost everyone’s life. People use it for making new clients, promoting business, learning new crafts, among many, many others. And while overuse or overexposure to social media can be unhealthy, proper use of them can be an advantage to someone’s craft and for professional and personal development.
As a physical therapist, I use social media a lot to gain new knowledge and insights, to interact with other clinicians, and to advance my profession somehow. Here are the 5 social media sites that I find most helpful to me [which are obviously, the most famous to anyone too!].
Who doesn’t know facebook? It’s almost always a part of a conversation when meeting a new acquaintance nowadays! “Hi, I’m Dion, nice to meet you. What’s your name? What do you do? Are you on facebook?”
Facebook is one major site I use to learn about latest news and advancement in the rehabilitation and fitness world. Everyday, colleagues and clinicians post physical therapy and other healthcare related links that I often find useful – whether it’s a published research, a new blog article, some medical breakthroughs in the news, or someone’s own principle and ideas. Good thing is that many of these clinics or clinicians run a facebook page which one can follow and see what valuable information they share. I follow more than 50 of these pages and it takes a great deal of time to go through all of them as they appear on my newsfeed. Most of these links need to be opened to see what the article says. It can be time consuming but it can be worth it. Luckily, facebook has now a added a “button” where you can save a link to read later in case you have limited time. Sometimes I copy-paste the article for future reference.
Facebook is also dotted with particular groups you can join in. Once you join these groups, you can advertise, ask questions, or just interact with other people’s post in the group, depending on what the moderators allow. There have been many occasions when I get to ask opinions on a case I am treating or a treatment I am studying, and get pretty good advice and insights from the group members.
Here’s my facebook page:
Twitter is equally useful, and in a sense works almost like facebook in that clinicians either tweet their own ideas and experiences, or tweet a link they have found to be worth knowing and sharing. Some speak of their biases and refute [politely, most of the time] those they disagree with. They’re very helpful to not only increase my knowledge in different areas of my profession but also to help mold my own treatment principle and clinical decision making.
There are also pretty good discussions among clinicians. One advantage of twitter is that the tweets are limited to 140 letters, so they are brief and concise and straight to the point so it’s easier to go through them in lesser time than facebook. There is also a “favorite” button which automatically saves that you tweet you favorite for future reference. Unlike facebook, tweeter is more of a site for professional use, more than for personal one.
Here are my twitter accounts:
I don’t use Linked-in as often or as much as I do with the previous two sites, but nevertheless has its own use and benefits. On the site, you can make a resume like profile for prospect employer or client to check on. I have had a few messages I have received informing me of certain job available. There is also a newsfeed type homepage where you see others share, though I find that it’s not as interactive as facebook. Meaning, use the same amount of time they use on the former two sites.
My favorite thing with Linked-in are networks or groups that you can join in where one can start a discussion and get to invite people to respond and interact. Professionally, there are groups for pediatrics, sports physical therapy, among many others that you can join in. I find the group “Evidence-based Physical Therapy” to the most active and interactive of all the groups I have joined in.
WordPress is a free site where you can run a blog. As influenced by the many clinicians who run their blogs to educate the masses and share their expertise to fellow clinicians, I do run my own blog on wordpress. It may not be as elaborate and exhaustive as others have, but I do keep track of my progress, write about some few things I’ve been learning about, and just let my possible clients know what I do and what I specialize on.
Some prefer Weebly but what I like about WordPress is that there are many other physical therapists I know who use it and we can follow each other’s blog. And those I follow appear somewhere on my page which makes it easy for me to visit. In fact, there is a reader’s page which is the very first thing you see when you log in to your blog. It acts as a newsfeed that shows new blogs created by those you follow.
Yeah, definitely. This should really be number one in the list in that its influence and use for me is massive. Since it is a site for video posting, you actually get to see a demonstration on how a certain physical therapy treatment or exercise is done. Whether a case I’m working on is common or unfamiliar, I often consult youtube for whatever new or additional treatment technique I can use for my patients.
Of course, I just don’t pick up randomly without using strict clinical judgment. When you type on the search engine “Treatment for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome” for example, you will be given lots of videos to choose from, not only from physical therapists but everything from athletic trainers to personal trainers to massage therapists to chiropractors, etc… So clinical discerning and reasoning is of utmost importance. I’m not saying that I only pick the ones by PTs, I’m just saying I pick up the ones I know makes sense according to my own knowledge on not only the specific conditions, but the specific patient or client I am working on. Fortunately, most of those that I follow on facebook, twitter, Linked-in and wordpress also manage their own youtube channels so I know who exactly to look for first.
About.me is actually some kind of portfolio where you can write a short bio about yourself – what you do, what your expertise are. Then you can put widget or link of all the social media sites you use or run – your facebook page, tweeter account, linked-in profile, blog site, instagram portfolio. So it’s like a summary of your professional profile in one page.
So there you have it. The social media platforms I use for professional development as a physical therapist practitioner. But really, whatever your craft is, whether a musician or entrepreneur, a mother or a student, social media can be a great tool in polishing your social or professional skills and be even better at what you do. Time is gold. If we are to be on facebook and other social networks a lot, might as well use it for our growing. Make it a place to gain knowledge and insight and thus, increasing your productivity.
What other social media site you find particularly useful?