AAFP Embraces Social Media


Well, it's official kids! I am the "King of Family Medicine Social Media!" I mean, I knew that for a long time - Hehe. But, don't take my word for it. Check out the video above where new AAFP President Dr. Glen Stream jokingly makes this reference as he initiates the new twitter ID @AAFPPrez. Now, I know that 7000 twitter followers does not constitute social media royalty. But getting a shout out from the AAFP Prez is very flattering, and I'm humbled by the recognition from the podium.

I think it speaks volumes that the largest physician organization in the US (following the AMA & ACP) is embracing social media in such a major way. In addition to the president's twitter feed and facebook page, there is an AAFP Leadership blog that will be updated by "The Prez" (just a friendly suggestion - the Leadership blog should be easily accessible from the American Academy of Family Physicians front page) The video above is the rest of my impressions from the recent Orlando meeting.

It's really hard to believe that it has just been four months since the AAFP National Conference of Special Constituencies meeting. It was here that twitter really started it's AAFP momentum and started to gather that critical mass at the leadership level. This momentum continued at the annual student/resident meeting two months ago. And, just before the start of the AAFP Congress of Delegates meeting, I made a bold prediction that this Orlando meeting would be the tipping point for social media in the organization.

Right before the meeting started, it was announced that for first time ever, there would be portions of the Congress of Delegates meeting broadcast live on the internet. In addition, these sessions would be archived and could be reviewed later at During the course of the meeting, I saw more and more new people tweeting out.

In addition, I presented about Family Medicine and Social Media which was very well received. I was interviewed by Family Practice News (video here) and Primary Care Clinician (video yet to be released). (By the way, my FPN interview was the most viewed of all FPN interviews recorded at the meeting)

So, it sounds like we should be taking a victory lap. Actually, our social media work has just begun. It's really the case of "Be careful what you wish for." The next Congress of Delegates meeting is in 13 months. In this time, I, along with my other AAFP social media advocates, really have to show to the organization the value of social media.

I'm encouraging my colleagues - that for the next year - to leave comments on the AAFP leadership blog, leave comments on the AAFP President facebook page, interact on twitter, and whatever else you can think of to show the Academy that social media is a valuable communication tool.

If value is not shown, then, like other organizations and corporations, this social media movement may be over when we arrive next year in Philadelphia for the annual meeting. I'm very much looking forward to this challenge. It will be my job to continue to cheer on my colleagues and encourage/empower them to explore social media. I'm pleasantly surprised by the social media progress that we have made with AAFP in 2011. Hopefully, we can keep up this momentum in 2012 and in the future...