ACLGIM Leadership Forum

Words of Wisdom

The Value of Social Media for Academic Medicine

Dr. Centor (; twitter @medrants) is chair-emeritus, ACP Board of Regents, and professor-emeritus, General Internal Medicine at the University of Alabama.

Social media definition: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Examples of social media include Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

In my opinion, Twitter stands alone for academic physicians. The platform allows 280 characters per tweet (although one can also add images, GIFs) for which one can also link a series of tweets to form a Tweetorial (A series of linked tweets that often teach a concept—similar to a chalk talk).

Twitter has become my primary site to keep updated. Almost any important article appears on Twitter, and often with serious critiques.

While podcasts are not technically social media, the rise of Internal Medicine podcasts is often championed on Twitter. Podcasts are advertised and noted. Periodically, some will tweet a clinical conundrum or a clinical quiz. These help followers work through a difficult diagnosis or management decision.

Why do I find Twitter so useful? Tweets are easy, quick, and you get to choose whose tweets appear on your Twitter stream. Most of the people I follow are physicians, and mostly internists. The list of interesting MedTweeters is long and includes many members of ACLGIM and SGIM.

At the risk of leaving out important others, the following is a quick list of people worth following:


Tags and Keywords