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    Using social media to improve the way you connect

    Social media becoming preferred choice of networking, patient relations

    As human beings, we are by nature social beings and have an innate desire for shared experiences. But what is the allure of social media because we are fearful of the dangers of having our information on the Internet?

    It has been over 10 years since Facebook exploded onto the scene, and the Internet went 2.0, allowing for more interactive communication.1 Some optometrists actively avoid all forms of social media. Understanding social and professional media (e.g., LinkedIn) plays an important role for ODs or any physicians who wants to better understand and communicate with their patients, colleagues, and staff.

    Previously from Dr. Wong: Using virtual reality in your practice

    Social media connects

    Having a presence on social media is not absolutely necessary to run a successful practice, but it can be a valuable tool in connecting with patients and diverse communities. If used wisely, social media can help grow a practice.2

    Maximizing your network is the key to ODs reaping the benefits of social media. As a professional, I do not post any information about myself or my practice that I would not want to see on the front page of The Washington Post or The New York Times.

    We ODs are professionals—posting something that would diminish the public’s trust in us would be irresponsible. Professional students, new ODs, and experienced ODs should regularly review their postings on social media to make sure that language, photos, and videos are appropriate.3

    During professional optometric programs, residencies, or fellowship programs, many ODs develop lifelong friends, colleagues, and mentors from their faculty, fellow classmates, and fellow residents. Most ODs will have experiences in several different practices, different settings, and even different careers throughout their professional lives.

    Having a current curriculum vitae (CV) and LinkedIn profile can help an OD find new job or practice opportunities.4 Practices are spending more time on their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

    Related: Managing your employees’ social media use

    Social media trends

    After Facebook surpassed MySpace, it became a major force in all forms of communication and marketing. While Facebook may still be the most important social media vehicle, it is now one of many social media vehicles commonly used by the public today.

    Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat occupy important social media niches. Facebook is very similar to websites over 10 years ago. Websites are still important repositories for a business—like an optometric practice—to manage social media vehicles and provide information for patients and the public. In the next 10 years, the use of social media will become even more commonplace.5

    Thomas A. Wong, OD
    Dr. Wong is a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry and a member of the AOA Ethics committee and ASCO Ethics SIG. He is a past ...

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