Is it the goal of social media docs to go mainstream? On twitter yesterday and today, I kept seeing posts that rockstar Dr. Eric Topol from Scripps Health was going to be a guest on the Colbert Report. At first, I thought, "Well, that's cool." Then as I continued to think about it, I asked, "Will this appearance really move the needle at all? Did Eric Topol jump the shark?"
All the time, I get questions from docs starting out in social media, "Hey, Mike, how can I get more twitter followers? How can I get more people to visit my website? Do you know anyone in national TV to help get the word out about me?" Is getting popular to just get popular a real goal? That's not medicine. That's not making a difference for patients. That's celebrity.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm probably going to sound like a hypocrite here, but I think what Eric Topol is doing is great, and, of course, I would not turn down an invite on Colbert (not that I would ever get that opportunity).
But, for docs doing social media or who want to do social media, I remind you to not to get caught up in getting famous or being a celebrity. It won't happen overnight. Topol has been doing this type of education & media for a long time, and he deserves all the success he has. But for those of us who are not him, I remind you to remember what's professionally important, and that's your patients. Focus on that and however you define success will be right around the corner.