By Robyn Roth, MD, and Pauline Germaine, DO
Long gone are the days of anonymous radiologists hiding in the shadows of dark reading rooms, faceless to consultants and patients. With the increasing popularity of Social Media (#SoMe), radiologists are using their online presence to become better recognized by physicians and patients.
#SoMe engages and educates patients, radiologists, researchers, and other healthcare providers (not to mention self-education!) and provides professional networking opportunities and the ability to amplify important news and updates from professional societies. #SoMe can be personally and professionally rewarding and allow your creativity to shine.
The number of radiologists participating in social media has been increasing with the growing number of social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, just to name a few!). Each radiology social media account has a different target audience and approach. While some show interesting radiology cases targeted toward trainees and attendings, others show off hobbies and interests outside of radiology.
One of our accounts, @theboobiedocs, discusses breast cancer in an approachable way through educational posts, trendy TikToks, and pop-culture memes. We have almost 5,000 followers, mainly women affected by breast cancer, but also patients and healthcare professionals interested in learning about breast health. We have turned this into a successful podcast — The Girlfriends’ Guide to Breast Cancer — as well as lecture invitations and national television appearances.
Another one of our #SoMe accounts, @dancingradmom, focuses on lung cancer screening recommendations and medical student and resident education. Social media is a great way to shed light on important and ever-changing screening guidelines and imaging tests, and shatter misinformation about imaging, imaging-guided procedures, and treatment options.
Our technologists have been some of our biggest supporters, eager to participate in our TikTok adventures, always on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities. Through these interactions, we have fostered comradery and improved morale in the department.
#SoMe is an integral part of the recruitment strategy for our residency and fellowship programs, especially in the post-pandemic era of restricted access and visitation. Our #SoMe engagement has opened doors to new recruitment strategies for technologists and physicians. Our virtual existence allows us to showcase and promote our department culture and highlight who we really are. We have also seen an increased number of medical students interested in radiology, often citing our #SoMe accounts as what piqued their interest.
#SoMe has countless benefits, but it does require thoughtful planning and behind-the-scenes work. For those looking to start a social media account, here are things you should consider:
- Identify your target audience and your voice. Incorporate your passions beyond radiology to keep it interesting. Do you like to cook, dance or travel? Post about that, too!
- Find a catchy username, and use it across all social media platforms (maybe even grab the website domain!).
- Consistency is key. Post across all platforms and don’t expect to go viral overnight. (But if that’s your goal, start with TikTok.)
- Think long term. Don’t use your institution name if you don’t plan on being there in five to 10 years. Also, using an institution name usually means that someone from administration needs to sign off on every post.
- Use #hashtags such as #radtwitter, #medtwitter, and #radiology. Tag like-minded accounts to increase discoverability.
- Keep it professional. Patients and future employers will surely stumble on your account.
- Most important, have fun!
We wish you the best of luck in your #SoMe adventures! Make sure to follow us @theboobiedocs and @dancingradmom to see #SoMe in action!
Samples of our content:
Robyn Gartner Roth, MD, is an assistant professor of radiology and fellowship program director at Cooper University Hospital specializing in women’s imaging. Dr. Roth runs a popular social media account (@theboobiedocs) where she discusses breast cancer/breast health through TikTok and educational posts. She also runs a podcast, “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Breast Cancer Health, and Beyond.”
Pauline Germaine, DO, is an associate professor of radiology at Cooper University Hospital specializing in women’s and body imaging. She is passionate about education for all levels of learners, and serves as vice chair of research and education for the Cooper Radiology Department and medical student radiology clerkship director for CMSRU. Outside her role as an educator and physician, Dr. Germaine loves spending time with her dog (@DizzyInATizzy), a TikTok micro-celebrity with a strong following of her own.