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How has the social network revolution changed my life?

I’m taking #MedDig, Medicine in the Digital Age on EdX with Dr. Kirsten Ostherr and Dr. Bryan Vartabedian. I finished week 1 and aced my quiz. I should be doing week 2 but I’ve a few days left before the May 19 deadline for week 2 quiz. So I thought I’d write a blog post for the discussion questions for week 1.

Discussion Question 1.

How has the “social network revolution” changed your life? Give a specific example from your life and a specific healthcare example.

I joined Facebook in 2008. I was trying to find my friends from grade school and high school, to organize a reunion. My classmates had moved away. I couldn’t track them down with the telephone directory. We found each other on Facebook.

With Facebook, I can touch base with old friends from grade school, high school, college and medical school! I have 935 friends on Facebook. Except for a few acquaintances and some whom I’ve never met personally, I’ve shared life moments with each and everyone.

My parents both in their 70s are also on Facebook. They use FB to keep in touch with classmates who live abroad. Their group of senior citizens also share links to old movies on YouTube, and pass around jokes of their generation. My dad now spends so much time online that I had to get him his own mobile broadband subscription. That’s life-changing!

As for a life-changing healthcare example, it would have to be my decision to join Twitter. I joined Twitter in 2010 as an assignment for a health informatics class. Read more about that story here. Recently, I also wrote about why I tweet. Engaging with others on Twitter led to me co-found #HealthXPh. #HealthXPh led to #hcsmph, the first Philippine Summit on Healthcare and Social Media. Twitter led me to #Doctors20! I can’t wait to get to Paris and share my thoughts on social media and healthcare.

Recently, I met empowered patients when I did the #HAWMC, the health activist writers blogging challenge where I wrote 30 posts in 30 days. Reading stories about their healthcare journeys has given me profound insights about the physician-patient relationship and the strength of the human spirit in the face of illness.

What would my life be like without social media? I’d likely still be teaching medical students, mentoring residents and fellows, and seeing patients at clinic. I won’t be writing this blog, sharing my slide decks online, going to Paris or doing tweet chats on Saturday nights. No one will call me the Endocrine Witch!




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