Share Your Professional Voice with Social Media

March 18, 2013 at 11:14 am | Posted in Professional Development | 1 Comment

Sally Gore, our illustrious NAHSL President, asked Sherry Pagota, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the UMass Medical School, to speak to the NAHSL Executive Board after our meeting on Friday, February 22, 2013 about using Twitter, blogs, and other social media tools for, as Sally said, “for both promoting AND creating quality, professional information.”

Sherry has her own blog, http://www.fudiet.com/ and is an avid Twitter user @DrSherryPagoto. What struck me the most about her presentation were the concepts of influencing thought that she discussed. She made the point that the recent Pew study of demographics of social media users (http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Social-media-users.aspx) showed there is not much of a digital divide in age groups. It is a forum that can reach many different people. She listed strategies to influence thought as high impact or low impact. Low impact strategies include professional conferences, scientific journals, and teaching. High impact strategies are getting press/media attention, commenting on related press stories, posting about or in consumer magazines, and using social media to network across disciplines.

Sometimes people with no background, education, or experience become the public voice for a topic. The example given was actress/Playboy model Jenny McCarthy being viewed as a “thought leader” for autism. We as librarians can use high impact strategies to get the correct information out to people using the high impact strategies that Sherry suggests. We can tweet about studies that have come out, reputable sources, and other library tools. We can also show our excitement for a class we are about to teach or a presentation we will give soon. Using social media may lead to funding or a chance to defend a field of work or interest. Sherry has been able to publish in journals and may soon be publishing a book because of her blog and Twitter presence.

To start following Tweets or to jump into the conversation on your own Twitter account, there is a website, http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/ that allows the user to search for Twitter feeds related to health. The search is based on the hashtag the Tweet is labeled with. We can all use our social media voice to get the best health information to a wide variety of people.

Lori Bradshaw, MSLIS, AHIP
Librarian
Dr. William E. Finkelstein Health Sciences Library
St. Mary’s Hospital
Waterbury, CT

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  1. Thank you for this great recap of Sherry’s talk, Lori! I’ve heard so much positive feedback from Board members. Engaging our patrons AND promoting our work via social media is so really important for us in our work.


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