2011 AAFP Orlando Prediction


Next week in Orlando, Florida will be the HUGE annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians. The beginning of the week will be the Congress of Delegates which is the important policy meeting, and the latter part of the week will be the education meeting called the Scientific Assembly. (Just as a personal plea, to keep things simple, I hope that they only use #aafp as the hashtag to keep things simple)

As all of you know, I'm a social media psuedo-pundit - especially for my beloved specialty of Family Medicine. I really had a huge plan for a series of blog posts this week to try to get my colleagues fired up and ready for a social media deluge during next week's meeting. Unfortunately, as usually happens, real life and work got in the way.

Going into this Orlando meeting, I have a bold prediction when it comes to social media. Four months ago, social media and Family Medicine really came together at the AAFP National Conference of Special Constituencies meeting. This was driven by a core group of Family Docs at that meeting. I wrote about it in the post "Why Family Medicine Needs Social Media." It seems like since then, social media has been gaining momentum in the Family Medicine commmunity.

As documented on this website, I have been graciously invited to speak about social media by many Family Medicine organizations. Organizations like the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine have announced a formal social media policy. State chapters like New Jersey, Texas, and Arizona have had educational and advocacy meetings live on the internet. The AAFP student/resident meeting used social media heavily. I have also been asked to give a social media session at the Orlando meeting. (sorry about the shameless plug; a previous version of my talk is in the video above)

Here's my prediction: With the help of my Family Medicine social media champions/friends, I predict that the 2011 AAFP Orlando meeting will be when social media will reach the mainstream of the Family Medicine landscape.

What? Huh? Mike, what the heck does that mean? You're sounding like a politician with that statement. (yeesh) Ok, let me explain it this way. Many in the Family Medicine community have an awareness of social media. I believe that this meeting will move people from a social media viewer to a social media participant. In this manner, more social media enthusiasts will be born and they will take this energy back to their state chapters and continue to spread the word there.

In the Family Medicine sphere, I feel that we are at the cusp of something really special. Communication is one of the strengths of Family Physicians. And, as docs become more comfortable using social media, they will come up with more creative ways to use this medium to spread the message of our specialty. This will be very important coming up in the advocacy realm for both the 2011 and 2012 election cycles, and in general for educating our patients and our communities.

Especially if you're a Family Physician, I hope you will join this challenge and help bring this prediction to reality. It is my belief and my hope that next week in Orlando, Florida will be something very special and will be the tipping point for Social Media in Family Medicine....

Update: Just after this was posted, I was reminded by my friend Kevin Bernstein. MD that the AAFP itself is going to be live video streaming some of the Congress of Delegates sessions. AAFP just posted the message last night - including specific dates & times of the live streaming. This is great for those AAFP members who will not be able to attend the policy meeting. Thanks AAFP! (see my prediction is already coming true LOL)