“I encourage everybody to try different sites out, depending on that person’s focus and needs,” said Dr. Gantwerker. Then stick with what you find most useful, rather than trying to maintain a presence everywhere. “Having multiple social media profiles gets exhausting, and there can be content overload,” said Dr. Gantwerker. “People tend to pare down to what they prioritize as most important to them.”
Explore This IssueFebruary 2017
For some sites like Doximity, all users are identified by name, and anonymity is not allowed. In fact, being more recognizable makes the experience richer, said Davis. “Take some time to update your profile and add a photo,” he said. “Those on Doximity who have photos get 20% more colleague requests. Being a well-networked doctor and having a well-documented Doximity CV [an online profile based on a user’s actual CV] can show up high in Google results, making the physician better able to be found online.”
Ask yourself, “What needs do I have as a physician?” said Dr. Sigari. He added that because physicians generally have so little time, it’s important to use that time wisely to find the online resources to help you fulfill those needs. “Personally,” he said, “weekly polls and surveys can be nice, but they don’t help me as a physician.”
Social media is always evolving, and physician-centered networking sites are no exception. “The sense of finding community online is never going to go away,” said Dr. Gantwerker. But some sites may merge with competitors to offer more services to physicians and others who have few moments for leisure. “I think more sites will mix social networking and information in the future, because we don’t have a lot of time.
Streamlining will happen,” said Dr. Sigari. Citing Facebook and Snapchat, a mobile app that lets users send photos, videos, and messages to each other before the images disappear, Dr. Gantwerker noted that many companies will incorporate features from each other to improve their user experience. “It’s not physician networking, but Snapchat blew past everything, prompting Facebook to develop Facebook Live,” the ability for Facebook users to record and transmit live video feeds to each other, he said. “Similar things will happen with the physician networking sites.”
Successful innovation that gives physicians—and other online users—what they want in an online networking experience will help certain sites continue to thrive. “Just because you were the first doesn’t mean you were the best,” said Dr. Gantwerker. “Sites can change in real time to take advantage of the best elements available.”