Yesterday, facebook bought social picture-sharing mobile app instagram for $1 billion. Why? Because social media is valuable. Period.
Social media is really a social science and thus equally applicable to medicine which involves people AND science. For docs an important unique rule applies: don't talk about patients in any way that could be identified. Beyond that, however, social science such as Dale Carnegie's 'How To Win Friends And Influence People' applies. This was one of my favorite books that I first read when I was in 3rd grade to overcome my shyness. Here are a few of the 'rules' of social science that I follow to bring value to my social media efforts:
Don't just say anything, have a reason or a strategy. For example: getting blog page views or increasing your peer-review journal paper's google scholar references. You can then use social media analytics to measure your progress accordingly.
Censoring: if you're not sure if you should say it, count to 16. If you're still not sure, then don't say it.
Like 'Love Story' where love means never having to say you're sorry...good social media censoring means never having to say you're sorry. But, if you make a mistake, own it and say you're sorry.
Use a cocktail party conversation strategy. Being personal in all situations (work, home) is my cocktail party style so I don't need to worry about differentiating. However, if you are totally different people at home and at work, pick your work self and your work self style for your cocktail party social media strategy. You can eventually combine both if you feel comfortable.
You'll never have regrets if you speak from your heart about putting patients first and if you are always nice about what you say. But, also be honest about what you say. Don't be two-faced or lie...you'll get caught and then you'll have regrets.
Remember your audience and what they think is interesting or useful.
Don't be the tin man from oz without a heart just broadcasting messages. In social media, broadcasting AND interacting from your heart works better.
Retweet and listen, don't hog all of the attention.
Learn from others and ask them questions. If you're feeling alone then you're not getting the benefit from the 'social' opportunity to ask and learn more by interacting with the information.
Like the Goonies, have a fun adventure with a higher purpose.
Like most of the great things in life (love, friendship, community, art, Ohio State sports), you get more than you give just by being in the game! :)