My father was a scientist and a physician. He was smart as hell and very fast (until he wasn’t, but that’s a different story…) My mother is also super smart but didn’t get into science until her 60s when she began volunteering at San Francisco’s very cool California Academy of Sciences. Yet when I struggled with math or science learning in school, I almost always went to my mother for help.


Because she was just above my level and understood my struggles so could explain things in a way that I could understand. My father was in the stratosphere and during my childhood – long, long before I ever considered becoming a doctor – and the stratosphere was both beyond my reach and a place I had no interest in visiting.

In medicine we call this near-peer learning. It seems to work in lots of contexts from classroom to bedside. At least as important, it’s sexier and more accessible – students want to be like those just a few years ahead of them, people who are competent but still very much like them.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’m going to periodically blog about things I’ve learned using social media, from time-saving tools to helpful tricks and why I use the types of SM I use. If you’re already a whiz, you might not find these posts helpful (though it’s also true that I learn new things about medicine every week from trainees even though I’m the one with years more experience …) But if you’re an ordinary user like me, or a non-user, my fledgling discoveries – the discoveries of a reluctant adopter and non-natural user – may be of interest.

Today’s tip: Social Media is like music, books and good food. You don’t need them to survive, but if you have the basics (shelter, basic food, work, family) they make life much more interesting and fun — as long as you find the types that fit your tastes, interests and budget.

Why I Didn’t Want to Use SM

Why I’m Glad I Do

It’s another time suck Anything worth doing takes time; make SM worth it and the time doesn’t matter
My schedule is too complicated already By using schedulers (Hootsuite, Buffer, WordPress) I do the work when I can and the messages and posts go up when they should
I don’t want my personal information going public My SM use is almost entirely professional, about writing and/or medicine. No one knows where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, etc. (unless I want them to…)
I don’t understand how any of this works SM is ubiquitous; I now understand what it is and how it works which makes me a more informed and effective professional and person


Next week: A Few of My Favorite (★) Things