Can Twitter and Facebook help prospective medical students?

As more students participate in social media, like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, Bryan Vartabedian asks, “Does Twitter Belong on Your Medical School Application?

Great question.

I’d say that the majority of doctors and medical schools fail to see the utility of social media, and are generally behind the curve.  Indeed, as Dr. Vartabedian writes, “some academics, after all, see social media as a waste of time.”

But that’s going to change.  With sites like the Mayo Clinic recently announcing their Center for Social Media, there’s no question that many more hospitals academic centers will follow in its wake, once they discover that social media is here to stay in health care.

Once they do so, these prospective medical students who are actively using Twitter and Facebook in their professional pursuits will be seen as innovators.

But we’re not quite there yet.  So, while I agree that social media experience should be viewed as a competitive advantage, follow Dr. Vartabedian’s advice on how to discuss Facebook and Twitter during an interview.

The last tip is the most helpful:

When in doubt, bring it back to the patient. Even the most pompous paternalist wants to believe he’s there for no one other than the patient.  Positioning social health as the next great bridge from doctor to patient is not only spot-on but compelling and likely to create memorable attention in the minds of an interviewer.

That single point should be the take-home message that medical students need to convey.

 is an internal medicine physician and on the Board of Contributors at USA Today.  He is founder and editor of, also on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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  • American Journal of Medicine

    You’re spot on when you comment that many medical school academics are not in tune with “the utility of social media.”

    Re: medical students and others starting out in their medical careers, do you think they use social networking for professional or social information and connections– or all of the above?