Social Media in medicine: Polarisation of debate

 

Conferences can be divisive.

There are some oft-repeated arguments on the same theme- go to any conference, for example, and you have myriad users making unverified claims. The speakers are often “attacked” by the more “knowledgeable” members who wish to get “noted”. It only serves to fan one’s ego without advancing the cause of science.

Sadly, it is also meant to mean that you haven’t arrived unless you have bloodied a few noses or organised conferences yourself (where you get even better opportunity to show off).

Social media has taken this to the next level. Under the garb of either anonymity or “reputation”, people are pushing their agendas. I have seen incredible hype machinery (like the Wired magazine for example) being roped in to promote healthcare products (as the next best thing). As a result, it becomes challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff.

This slide by a Twitter user came as a breath of fresh air and I liked it because it encapsulated everything I have firmly held so far.

As professionals engaged in patient care, it helps to keep an even keel. I’ll attend a conference which allows saner discussion. Likewise, on Twitter, I block or unfollow people with agendas.

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