I am a miracle made up of particles and in this existence I'll stay persistent and I'll make a difference and I will have lived it - Medicine for the People

Social Media & Medicine

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sometimes I’m not sure how I feel about the prevalence of technology in our daily life. There is definitely a line to be crossed when it comes to being on your phone constantly versus interacting personally with someone. I don’t think anyone enjoys taking the time to hang out with a friend only to have them sit there and play a game on their phone or text or check Facebook constantly.

On the other hand though, I do think that the widespread use of social media can be a really positive thing, depending on the circumstances. Social media allows us to get close to people we wouldn’t normally be able to. While for many of us that means following celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Amanda Bynes on Twitter so we can get the latest updates on their ridiculous antics, we also have the opportunity to use sites like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr as a way to get connected to medical schools, cutting edge science news and application resources.

+AMCAS has a very well managed Twitter account and you can expect a timely response to any question you ask them regarding applications. They also tweet helpful advice and information on transmission deadlines which I find useful. The +The New York Times Health Twitter is another of my favorites because I love the articles they post and the AAMC recently started a creative Tumblr resource that highlights new medical research. You can also join special Google+ groups related to specific fields of medicine and connect with others who share your interests.

The great thing about being able to follow med schools in particular on social media is that you get a unique look at how they work. From the pictures and stories they post and links that they tweet, you can get a glimpse into their on-campus dynamic and the kinds of activities they support. Some schools will tweet about breakthroughs in research or innovative medical technology, others take a different approach and post about events put on by the school or their participation in the community (RushMed recently tweeted pictures of students at Pride2014!).

As a journalist, it’s really fun to see social media being used for this kind of purpose. I especially like that I can follow all the schools I’ve applied to on Twitter. They’re getting the word out about cool science-y things and using the internet as a platform to show what they value as a school and I get to be a part of that. I like that I can interact with them and have gotten positive responses from several schools on a few things I’ve posted. It helps to show that these schools are accessible and they want to open up a dialogue instead of being aloof and uninvolved. I'm excited that more and more schools are realizing that social media is a great way to connect with people in their neighborhood, future students, and the greater scientific community. It's an effective way to use the internet as a wonderful tool to do great things. 


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