Tuesday, October 05, 2010

First #MDChat: My Reaction

Branded as the "first twiter chat for physicians," MDChat took place just a few hours ago on twitter. If you would like to check out the transcript of what happened earlier, then click here. Unfortunately, I was not able to be an active participant because I was still in clinic, but I was able to see the stream of comments during that time. Here are a few of my initial reactions to what happened at MDChat.

Not A Lot Of Docs on MDChat: Maybe I was just peaking in at the wrong times, but it looked to me that there were not a lot of docs on "MDChat." And, I realize that one way to encourage docs to participate in twitter chats is to have twitter chats. But, it seemed to me that there were a lot more non-docs than docs

Lots Of Talking AT Docs And Not Talking WITH Docs: There was a lot of preaching going on directed toward the few physician participants. It's like some of those non-physicians who showed up really had an agenda and wanted to give a doc a piece of their mind. Lots of one sided conversation from my point of view.

Art Imitates Life: I really don't see (at this point) physician social media neophytes wanting to step into an arena like this. Every day in the office and hospital, docs every move is watched and examined; waiting for people to pounce on a slight misstep. In my opinion, today's MDChat was a digital microcosm of what happens in analog life. Physicians unfamiliar with social media are going to make mistakes. I finally understand why some docs would feel the need for closed systems like iMedExchange or sermo where docs can talk to peers, ask stupid social media questions, and not worry about others trying to take advantage of "a doctor's mistakes."

I apologize if this sounds harsh, but, at this point, this is my first impressions of what was branded as "MDChat." Do I have solutions on how to make it better? I have to think about this a little more before presenting some ideas, because if my idea is not well thought out, I know that I'll hear about it...


PhilBaumann said...

Thanks for the feedback!

You aren't being harsh at all.

These are things I've considered myself actually.

Twitter's a wide open medium and these concerns apply to any attempt to do this sort of thing.

I'll offer and build on your comments soon!


Dr. A said...

Thanks Phil. I realize that it's a work in progress. I know that all the feedback that you get will further improve MDChat...

PhilBaumann said...

Exactly - it takes a while to ramp up communities.

The other thing is that as more physicians get involved, we'll start to hear more of their voices.

We won't hear them, unless they participate. Clinicians are still a very tiny percentage of active Twitter users.

We'll see. And I can't wait until you moderate! ;-)



Paul Moniz, Albert Einstein College of Medicine @Einstein said...

The debut of any new chat is always an experiment. I agree with some of the assessments made. But I do think there was positive engagement among and between MDs and other healthcare professionals. We're doing our part to spread the word at our institution (@Einstein) to get more MDs on the chat.

Perhaps in subsequent chats, a more structured set-up around one specific topic might work - in addition to announcing the topic before the chat so MDs and others come ready with resources, relevant links, etc. You want to encourage spontaneity but I think there's room for both structure and banter.

Over all, a solid first effort and we look forward to more #MDChats.
Nice work, Phil.

PhilBaumann said...


Excellent point about posting topics ahead of time.

It's worth experimenting with, and I do think that for physicians are are following more actively might get (and add) more value that way.

I'll do just that on the next MDchat.

Thanks, Paul

Phil, MDchat

Dr. A said...

I definitely agree with Paul's comment above. Phil also stated on the MDChat site that he was pleasantly surprised by the higher than expected turnout for the chat.

I've been thinking in my mind about "structuring" the chat, and that has good, bad, and impossible points. One of the unique qualities of twitter chat is the ability to go in any direction in a discussion, and sometimes that's good.

Too much structure and too little structure decreases the quality of the discussion. Hey Phil, maybe I'm already thinking like an MDChat moderator. Be very afraid...

PhilBaumann said...

@Dr. A

You are hereby officially invited!

Here's your chance to be part of a growing 21st Century community.