This week I am shining my social spotlight on Macmillan consultant, and honorary senior lecturer in palliative medicine at St. George’s University of London, Dr Ollie Minton.
Hi Ollie, I’m eager to learn more about how you are using social media in your work?
OM: As the saying goes no one reads your work except the reviewers and editor so sharing my interests and publications has gone a long way. I also think sharing articles and other things of interest is the best use of social media and by that I mean Twitter. I think some gentle campaigning such as Dying Matters and You Only Die Once (#yodo) pays dividends.
The more you make the connections, the more it pays off
We were able to promote our team at work and the trust to a huge audience – you can’t buy that publicity – and demystify what we do. The rest is simply serendipity, but the more you make the connections, the more it pays off – I think for instance more of my work has been read since I tweeted links in the last year than ever before. I have enjoyed following and being followed by a wide cross-section of medical types and interest groups.
When did you start using social media. What prompted you to get started?
OM: I started during my PhD in earnest – feeling like a fish out of water – a clinician in the lab and the time any experiment took. I have then seen the proliferation of open data and access and feel that work both old and new can be shared equally. I also wanted to broaden my reading beyond my speciality and medicine to a degree.
Which platform(s) do you enjoy using the most?
OM: Really for me Twitter offers it all and links take me to wherever I need to go. There is some mythical ratio of professional to personal interactions of either 80:20 or 70:30; and for the most part I think I stick to that. The only recent addition I have made is to write a few blogs – prompted by Twitter friends and m’learned colleague and friend Dr Mark Taubert who is also the associate editor of the BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care blog, so there’s a natural outlet and obviously you can then tweet the link to what you’ve written.
Which topics interest you; do you take part in any particular twitter chats?
OM: I’d hope I took the early lesson from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and hide in plain sight, with my interests, both clinical and academic, made explicit. I am interested in supportive and palliative care very broadly, which can encompass all aspects of health. I would focus on cancer care in particular, and long term effects of successful treatment. I take part in the relevant Twitter chats as a result – palliative medicine and radiation oncology journal clubs when the time difference internationally allow, and I do enjoy the debates in the @WeDocs chats both formal and impromptu.
What advice would you give someone just starting out on social media?
The only decent set of “rules” I ever read were by the UK civil service
It’s not rocket science – we must use common sense about everything we publish on digital and social media. Once something has been sent, it’s public. Following these guidelines correctly will ensure that your social media activity will enhance your job as a civil servant, while also retaining the highest levels of integrity.
Or the ASCO – no one is anonymous online and hide in plain sight.
Finally, would you like to share a favourite quote with us?
OM: I’d cheat and recommend the 42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by from the recent radio 4 revival. But out of all of them, I’d choose: ” All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others. The secular update of In God We Trust all others must bring data” (attributed to W Edwards Deming).
I really enjoyed learning more about your work and philosophy Ollie. I look forward to learning more from you on Twitter. Thanks!
Follow Ollie on Twitter @drol007