Formality is the delineation between social media and what Dr. Moore half-jokingly calls “professional media.” And, while in some ways technology gaps can often be a generational difference, Dr. Moore doesn’t see email usage through that prism—certainly not when he’s interacting with the young adults in his classes.
Explore This IssueSeptember 2017
“I look at myself as a professor, and I have that formal relationship with younger people being students, they know … they could find me on social media,” he said. “There’s nothing preventing them, but still they reach out to me via email, and I communicate with them via email.”
John Sinacori, MD, director of the Voice and Swallowing Center and an advisor to the otolaryngology residency training program at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, agreed that the younger otolaryngologists he works with use text messaging more often than email, but these days, the use of text messaging technology isn’t divided by age groups. Dr. Sinacori answered questions for ENTtoday via text message. He said he gets between 40 and 60 texts daily, and it is often the best way to reach him, as he reviews his texts before he checks his email. “My 80-year-old mother, who doesn’t know how to use a calculator, knows how to text and really doesn’t use email,” he said. “Age is not a factor anymore.”
People often check their email before they check the weather, before they check social media. Sure, there are other places to go; there are other ways of communicating. But I still think that email is the center point. It’s the starting line for your communication. —A.J. Moore, PhD
Concerns about the safety of email cause many to question its fate. In a broad sense, that is the natural question asked about any new technology, said Ben Compaine, MBA, PhD, director of the Fellows Program at the Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information and a lecturer in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston.
“There are always people who will find something to fear,” he said. “Like when ATMs came along, there was stuff being written about safety concerns: ‘People will go to an ATM and someone just holds them up and gets their money.’ It’s happened, but given the hundreds of millions of transactions that go on, you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Dr. Sinacori said that when residents are communicating sensitive patient information, they know not to use text messages or other services that the hospital has not certified as compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and