The Doctor Will Follow You Now… on Twitter


When some of my clients have a hard time reaching me by telephone, they sometimes send me a message on Facebook or tweet me a brief missive: “Dr k i know ur not in today but lola's eye isn't improving. Heres a pic.”

It might seem intrusive to you, but here’s the thing: Ten to one, I’ll be returning their message five times as fast than via more conventional modes of contact.

It’s decidedly not for everyone, but I’ve gotta confess that any approach that a) reaches me at my smartphone, b) gives me freedom to set my response time, and c) lets me answer in writing tends to get me moving faster than other methods. There’s just something about the ease, immediacy and comfort of communicating this way that works –– for me, anyway.

Here are three more reasons I prefer social media contact over more standard ways:

1. The telephone is to social media what snail mail is to email.

Telephone calls, in particular, just seem sluggish and intrusive by comparison. What can I say? I don’t have the patience for “dialing,” waiting for the phone to ring, listening to a message (or suffering through 10 rings or so)… then doing the whole thing over again when it’s clear that I’ll have to try another number.

2. Puts it in writing.

Then there’s the verbal thing to get past. Somehow it’s just easier for me to know I’ve written something down than spoken it aloud. It’s more concrete, intelligible, indelible and comfortable for everyone. Or so it seems to this devotee of the written word.

3. A picture’s worth a thousand words.

What’s more, those of us who are more visually inclined will doubtless gravitate to social media’s more pictorial charms. After all, there’s no substitute for a photograph when we’re talking about certain kinds of health care concerns.

All of which probably explains why I’m terrible at making telephone callbacks (easily my biggest flaw in veterinary practice) yet excel in my overall accessibility. That is, accessibility to those who are social media savvy. (Everyone else probably thinks I suffer a serious case of the telephonic sloth.)

Despite my devotion to the Twitters, Facebooks, Pinterests and Instagrams of this world –– not to mention my attachment to texting and enthusiasm for emails –– many of my colleagues can’t fathom why a growing number of us would prefer to interact with our clients in ways that seem –– well –– more public than professional.


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