Mar
28
2012

Five Reasons Mind On Med (and @daniellenjones) Won’t Disappear For Interviews

As Match Day for the Class of 2012 quickly fades into the background and residency applications for my class begin to appear on the (horrendously terrifying, Wizard of Oz tornado-esque) horizon, I find my classmates starting to disappear (or discuss disappearing) from Facebook and other socially-oriented websites.

“Are you taking your blog down for application and interview season?” someone innocently asked, “I mean, some program directors just may not appreciate the ‘social media’ involvement as much as you do.”

The question, while valid by many accounts, irked me a bit – of course I’m not taking down Mind On Medicine for residency applications. 

Why? Let me give you a few reasons.

1. I have nothing to hide.

If I were to take down my blog for residency applications and interviews it would imply I have written something here that I need to hide from my “higher-ups.” I don’t write about patient specifics, in fact I can think of only one time I’ve even written vaguely of a patient interaction, and I don’t write negatively about classmates or residents or attendings. I just write. About medical school, about my life, about funny stuff, about serious stuff…I just write. This is my hobby and I enjoy it, why would I hide that from anyone?

2. It seems a bit dishonest.

If I did take it down what would happen when I started residency? I’d put Mind On Medicine back up and eventually someone would ask why it conspicuously disappeared for the period of time I was applying and interviewing? Awkward turtle. 

3. It’s sort of on my CV.

Not explicitly, but in a round-a-bout kind of way. I was recently published in one of my school’s magazines and the article mentioned this blog. So, if someone were to read my lone “publication” and attempt to visit Mind On Med from that reference only to find I had deleted it…well, that’d be a little weird. I’ve also received some opportunities from this blog that are included on my CV – being a founding medical student of Health Tap University, working with Doximity, a job writing reviews for iMedicalApps, attending and participating as a panel member at an upcoming Doximity Leadership Summit – and I’m sure at some point in my interviews it will come up how I stumbled upon at least one of these awesome, non-traditional opportunities. These are seriously amazing things I’ve had the chance to be a part of all from being involved in social media…I really just want to paste it everywhere so people can see the benefit, not hide it like a red-headed step-child*.

4. I’m proud of my writing & involvement.

I consider my involvement in social media more than just a haphazard manner of sharing what I had for breakfast (although, I do occasionally share what I have for breakfast…especially when it’s cookies…or vending machine crap…), it’s a way for me to learn. I have gained so much from being involved in social media, more than just cool opportunities. Not only do the people I’ve met teach me as much as the people I interact with “in real life,” they’re helping me network, expand my career and, maybe most importantly, open my mind to ideas, lifestyles, & beliefs I wasn’t previously familiar with. There are so many people on Twitter who have taught me how to be a better physician in the future and I am so grateful – these opportunities have been overwhelmingly valuable to me.

5. What a freakin’ hassle!

Umm…I’m not entirely sure what all would go into making this blog disappear for a certain amount of time, but I am confident I do not want to deal with that! I worked too hard creating a blog, moving it to WordPress, designing a Header, organizing, changing, adding, subtracting and editing to make this thing disappear. It’s a work of art (notably included in the “my-3-year-old-could’ve-finger-painted-that-what’s-it-doing-in-the-Smithsonian” genre).

 

A while back my internet friend (oh, – reason #6 – if I hide my internet existence it knocks me down to 2 friends total…and one is married to me…so I really can’t afford delete myself at this point) and Mind On Med guest blogger, Allison from MD2B, wrote a post called “My Social Media Manifesto” in which she, much more gracefully and intelligently than I, described some fabulous reasons for keeping her internet presence around during application and interview season. Hop on over and give it looksy…good stuff.

So, there you have it – the 5 reasons I am not using the Abracadabra dust to make me internet-invisible come September.

Agree? Disagree? What are your reasons for keeping (or Control-Alt-Deleting) your online presence for application season?

 

Image: graur codrin | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*No offense meant to red headed step-children. I myself am a step-child…and am currently sporting hair in a shade of red. I did not take offense to that statement, so neither should you. If you did I need you to evaluate your life and discover what your evil step-mother did with your sense of humor. It’s likely locked in the cold, dark basement she kept you in when you weren’t mopping floors.

 

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23 Comments + Add Comment

  • Agreed. Emerging voices can be appreciated by following medical student blogs and on social media. Kendra Campbell is a great example, she blogs for Medscape as resident and did the same as a med student. She also has stellar personal blog that she maintained, banter and all through the process. It’s about authenticity, developing relationships and meaningful use of social media to share, connect and enage (this means fun too).

    • Great post. Do you think there will be a culture clash between old physicians and new? Is this clash similar to physicians and patients in anyway? Is it not ironic that this is occurring?

      • There’s absolutely a culture clash between (SOME) older generation physicians and the newer generation. It was bound to happen at some point, especially with the advancement of social media and technology. Those resistant to adopt new technology are (rightfully) fearful of becoming out-dated or irrelevant. Luckily, any one, no matter their years in practice, can easily adopt some of the newer methods of interacting and maintain their spot in the status quo quite nicely. Unfortunately, it does take some effort and neuron plasticity.

  • The best/worst thing about social media and the internet is even if you tried to “remove” yourself from the internet, It would never work because if someone googled your website, twitter, or name everything you ever visited, tweeted, liked, typed, photographed, whatever–is on the internet forever.

    I believe that you and many other people understand how amazing it is to find a blog like this. There is some understandable shame and fear that some students/residents have about blogs. I know people who have great blogs but write anonymously for fear that they would be denied an opportunity because of poor professionalism.

    Honestly, if anyone is curious to know how you approached the application/interview process it’s the hundreds of students that visit your site–and me. I think you’re doing a fantastic job and you have turned your blog into something that is ultimately a great resource for many people. Thank you! :)

    • Mel – that is SO true. I don’t think I could delete myself if I wanted to…so I guess it’s a good thing I don’t want to. :) I think that writing anonymously very much stifles the experience of social media…it’s extremely difficult to interact with those who write anonymously, even if they have a great “online persona.” If you look closely the doctors making the most difference through social media are extremely open about who they are and what they do. Not to mention, there’s a lot of great opportunities I would have missed out on completely if I had been blogging anonymously – amazing friends, conferences, job opportunities, publications, etc. I would highly encourage your friends to come forward and own their writing – I’d be happy to chat with them if they have any questions! :)

      I am so happy you consider Mind On Med not only a nice, entertaining procrastination tool, but also a valuable resource. Thanks for your kind words! Email me anytime you have questions about anything.

  • I completely agree with you! Especially numbers 1 &2. It’s also dishonest in the sense that you wouldn’t be letting interviewers/programs see the “real you.” And for those who think “some program directors just may not appreciate the ‘social media’ involvement as much as you do”…I think medicine is starting to push beyond the traditional limits put forth by our predecessors. How many doctors are now tweeting or using HealthTap? Oh, and if that residency program doesn’t like you *because* you use social media, I’m pretty sure that’s not a good fit for you anyway! Good luck with the application process this year!

    • Thanks so much, Jasmin!! Great points on all accounts.

  • I agree! When I started blogging at the beginning of medical school, it seemed like a means to keep in touch with family and friends who lived far away, and secondarily a means of keeping track of what I experienced. Now it’s morphed into a real space where I can express the joys, challenges, fears, and successes of being in medicine. A friend even suggest I add blogging on my CV, inviting prospective programs to go looking for my blog…
    Cheers!

    • Go for it, girl! Honestly, if you love what you write and know it’s a positive on your application you SHOULD add it. We add all kinds of hobbies to those things, why not a great one like blogging? :)

  • I totally agree! I am proud of my writing and the opportunities that it has provided. Effective communicators make better doctors, and your writing is evidence that you can communicate effectively.
    Nice post!

  • I agree with this 110% Not only has your blog led you to some amazing opportunities, you have taught all your readers (especially me) a LOT, from med school to your DIY projects (I love the island and your utility room makeover)! — We would all be terribly upset with your online sabbatical. I completely agree with Jasmine – if a residency program doesn’t like you because of your involvement in social media, which is clearly an important aspect of your life, that program isn’t right for you anyways.

    I honestly don’t know why some program directors disapprove of social media? I remember before I got involved in blogging & twitter, I just wasn’t aware of all the professional benefits and networking possibilities… Maybe just not knowing enough of something and how it’s used professionally could cause disagreement?

    • I think that’s definitely one of the reasons. It’s just fear of the unknown, along with some scare tactics and a few bad apples. It’s unfortunate really, they’re missing out for sure. I’m so glad you enjoy Mind On Med. Thanks for all your great insight!

  • Absolutely and 100% agreed. It really bothered me last semester when many of my friends chose to change their real names to nicknames on Facebook – as if doing that would somehow keep you hidden. It didn’t make any sense at all! If you have something to be ashamed of on social media – be it Facebook, twitter, or a blog – then you probably shouldn’t have written about it or posted it in the first place! You’ll do great no matter what – and your blog is fabulous btw. You have nothing to worry about :)

  • As someone who blogs anonymously, I guess I just wish that I had the same confidence in my writing that you do. I chose to blog anonymously not because I wanted to say things that I wouldn’t be able to say face to face, and not because I wanted to say things that I didn’t want attributed to my real identity. Rather, I chose to blog anonymously because I felt that I would actually be more inhibited if I knew that my writing was directly linked to my offline identity – and that I wouldn’t express as much of myself as I wanted to.

    I suppose, in my usual long winded way, I’m saying kudos to you for having the courage to be able to express yourself in such an open forum. Please continue to blog as you have in the past – be yourself no matter what they say. In fact, I hope that someday I’ll open up my blog or start a new one without anonymity.

    I would also remind you to take care. In medicine, your reputation is your career, your livelihood, potentially the roof over your head and the food in your child’s mouth.

    • Thanks for the comment. There are definitely a few things I would never blog about, purely because they are close to my heart and private. However, I think I gain FAR more from blogging as myself and being ever-so-slightly inhibited than I would from blogging anonymously and saying every thought that comes to my mind. I would definitely encourage you to take a good look at your writing and see if you could continue writing without anonymity. I feel like I would have missed out on so many great opportunities had I hidden my real identity when I started writing. As always, I enjoy your insight and your blog a lot…I just don’t see anything in there that would be negative towards you were you to blog as yourself. :)

  • Agree. Of course you have nothing to hide. Your unique vantage point as a future physician interested and educated about how to use technology to improve health (care) is an asset for any institution.

    This should be spelled out. I would be delighted to help you figure out how to do that in your applications if you think I could be of any help.

    Not only do you have an opportunity for lively, sincere interviews when you wow your future colleagues about your savvy prescient work, you will also be able to learn from those all over the country while on the interview trail — a resource for all us.

    You’ll be better able to answer the questions than many “experts” in the space re: where are we anyway with adoption of technology for improved communication in health care delivery and what are the obvious hurdles we must surpass first. You’ll have a quilt of reflection.

    Looking so forward to our panel together and to learning from you this weekend. Keep up all the great work. Residency will be great…

    • Thanks so much, I will definitely be contacting you to help me out if I decide on adding this stuff to my CV. I’ll absolutely be sharing my

    • Thanks so much, I will definitely be contacting you to help me out if I decide on adding this stuff to my CV. I’ll absolutely be sharing my experiences on the interview trail and I’m sure there will be a lot of great people to learn from.

      I think writing helps me to be better at answering questions in general, because I’m used to forcing myself to sit down and think about things and come up with graceful (ugh, that word would be used loosely…by graceful I mean…fragmented sentences and mediocre grammar) ways to express my opinions and ideas.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your continued encouragement and support. Meeting you this past weekend was just fabulous. You and a few other online docs have truly blazed an incredible trail for me to follow and I’m happy to have you all to look up to. Thanks for everything, hope to cross paths with you again sometime!

  • And this post is captures precisely why your application would stand shoulders above everyone else.

    Between a rehearsed application and this amazing window to who you are…I’ll take the window.

  • Impressive blog.It was really informative and hope to see another more important write ups!

    healthcare social media

  • I just started writing a blog and this was definitely one of things on my mind: how will my residency application benefit/suffer from my social media presence? Your post has definitely reassured me. I’m glad to have my blog and to be able to share what goes on in my life. I hope that those who interview me will see that my ability to communicate well is a benefit. Also, we can’t un-invent technology. Why not try to use it to our advantage? Social media will be an even bigger part of our lives in the future and knowing how to use it will definitely be a plus!

    • Sophie – thanks for stopping by! What a great point – technology isn’t going anywhere and it will definitely not be un-invented…it’s here to stay, so we might as well find it’s best use. Totally agre!

  • [...] season, you could use social media to your advantage. Danielle Jones, at Mind On Medicine, has covered this question in regards to residency interviews, but the concept is applicable to premeds as well. By [...]

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About The Author

I’m a Medical Student (that means I'm in school to become a doctor). My life story can be viewed here. I started this blog in hopes of landing a role in a Lifetime movie so I could quit school and move to Hollywood, so if you wouldn't take medical advice from Angelina Jolie, you shouldn't take it from me. I may not even be a real person. In fact I'm probably a spambot. Or a 15 yo boy blogging from a dingy basement. If you're really interested you can read more about me here. If you have any questions or want to guest post contact me.

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