All of us I am sure, can with great satisfaction, say that we have indeed harnessed the power of Social Media and made sure it works for us in our respective fields and profession . For me , to a large extent , it is in my interventions with patients I work with. Today any one , be it advocate or counsellor is happy to accept that this medium has come to stay and use it as an important means of communication Personally, I find Twitter , Face Book, Instagram and now increasingly , LinkedIn , a great means of networking . On different levels of course . Whereas we are free and easy on FB , maybe even flippant at times , on Twitter we are seeking knowledge and information and on LinkedIn showcasing our professional selves. Instagram is of course balm to the soul for all .
From Twitter I get all my news and current affairs updates , I follow major Cancer Organisations and other Medical sites , world class News Channels and News Papers , Journalists and Authors and try to share information by re tweeting relevant stuff . I was pretty surprised to see that I have over a 1000 followers and realised folks out there must be liking what I re tweet or share.. . and then ahem ! I also saw that people actually have thousands and thousands of followers : )
Face Book is my virtual Living Room in my home. My Open House where my life is an Open (Face) Book and my family, friends and acquaintances are most welcome to hang around. Increasingly , many of my patients have also begun to discover FB and this I have seen has worked as a great means of unburdening the load of the disease for them. Finding each other on FB has helped them deal with their sense of isolation and also helped cope with the stigma each one has felt at some point in time or the other. In the last two years I have encouraged hundreds of patients especially from the smaller towns to come on board the Social Media train . First as my friend and then of the support group I manage and then each other . The Smart Phone revolution has done away with the need of a computer and internet connection at home and these youngsters are having a wonderful time being connected all the time with their new family and friends . The bonding is wonderful and the exchange of information , very useful and helpful in encouraging good adherence behaviour.
It was obvious of course that just being my friend was not enough and they needed a closed forum to share more effectively and so a closed page was born ...and gradually , when it was the right time , they were ready to let the world know of their existence and an Open page is now on FB where we are showcasing their activities
LinkedIn is a site I was not paying much attention to but then it was apparent people were looking at my profile and I felt this would be a great way to showcase my professional side. Whereas one can take liberties on our personal sites one became mindful of being also a representative of the company one represents and I find LinkedIn a good forum to present a professional angle and showcase achievements at work .
Instagram is an answer to my desire to "see" and "shoot" and "share" ...ever since the diagnosis of Glaucoma and my impaired vision I have felt this deep rooted urge and desire to capture the beauty around me and in this site have found many soul mates I may never meet but already know well enough to call them that. This is my ultimate stress buster .
As a chronic and compulsive Social Media user I have always faced many queries from some of my non Social Media aficionado friends /family about the actual value of these forums. Some are quite vehemently against these , especially Face Book , citing many reasons for their concerns . I am well aware of the so called "pitfalls" and "dangers" and try to be mindful about not causing any kind of grievous harm to others and myself because of my usage of these sites....yes it can become an addiction and for that I have strict rules for myself. No Social Media during working hours unless it is posting work related announcements .I do have those long hours of commute to indulge in this activity you see.
Despite all the negative views , I have always found sunshine and good cheer in my interactions with my friends and continue to post and follow my instincts and heart. I love to share my joys and love of life and my life's moments for in the sharing they become more real to me And then I know that to some extent those who follow me too enjoy these .
The following message I received from one of my Friends on FB really touched my heart and kind of reaffirmed my belief that there must be some good at least in all of this .This is Dr Deepak Garg, a colleague of my eye surgeon Dr Rajul Parikh . I got to know Dr Deepak on my by now very frequent visits to see Dr Rajul and we may have exchanged a few pleasantries before becoming friends on FB .
I paste this communication I received in my inbox a few weeks ago . I was in Melbourne the night it pinged in and it kind of says it all
And oh! Happy New Year and more power to Social Media in 2015
Good Evening Madam, The other day when the school kids had come over to the hospital was probably the first time i said more than a hello to you. I have obviously seen you come visit Rajul for the past many months. That day when the kids came to the hospital i was noticing that you were taking pictures and had that big smile on your face. I then went on to read your post of that event on your FB page. I have to say that you have the ability to find pleasure and happiness out of very small things in our daily lives. Every picture of yours that you post on FB makes me feel that you are enjoying life and making the most of it. I feel that my day will probably be a little better than what it was going to be because of that. I am so sure that everyone who knows you and who is part of the Max Foundation team feels the same way about you. I am just so sure of that. You definitely have an aura about you. I even told rajul this and he actually agreed He told me you are just like your mother. Actually Dr Vijaya in SN is one of my favorite bosses. As post graduates we 'kids' spoke about how elegantly she wore her sarees and carried herself. You remind me of her all the time. I just had to tell you this.......all the best and the warmest regards
I replied :
Good evening Dr Deepak ! I am so touched and humbled by your kind words . And so far away from home here in my hotel room in Melbourne I feel so blessed . Thank you so much for saying what you did . I am happy you like my posts and feel energised . Life is to be lived and to love life and the people in my life is all I want to be able to do . ....I was so impressed by your programme for the children the other day ..what a wonderful thing to do . I do feel there is so much we can do and find ways to make others happy ...I find happiness in the smallest of things nd then they become big:) Eye Solutions has great vibes . I love coming there . Ad Dr Rajul isso special . I actually forget I have Glaucoma . My patients teach me this lesson ...live life and be happy . Once again thank you and a big hug .