Social Media: Finally! A Facebook for Young Docs

MDNG Neurology, April 2008, Volume 9, Issue 2

For perhaps the first time, a social networking site geared to the young medical student or resident is now just a mouse click away.

Jealous of your kids on MySpace and Facebook? Hearing a lot of buzz about a new service called Yuwie? Yuwie is a new concept, the owner is sharing the advertising revenue with the users, and this is why the site is already at half a million people. Basically users get paid for doing the same things they are already doing on Myspace and Facebook. The concept has become quite popular and there is quite a mix of interesting people there. From what I understand some people are doing quite well! If only my kids were a little older…

But enough with the digression. The big news is that DoctorsHangout--a friendship and social networking site for doctors and medical students has been completely revised. DoctorsHangout is the brainchild of Subrahmanyam Karuturi, MD. It is an exclusive next generation social networking service for Medical Students, Residents and Doctors. DoctorsHangout.com can help you maintain existing personal and professional relationships and establish new ones by reaching out to Doctors you've never met before. The site makes it easy to find people who share your hobbies and interests, look for long lasting connections or establish new professional contacts. At DoctorsHangout, physicians exchange clinical experiences, review their cases and share clinical knowledge. The set up is much like the other social networks in that you can create blogs, upload photos, add friends, with an important twist. To the right of your personal page are news feeds from several current medical sources such as Medical news today, Medscape news, NEJM, British Medical Journal, Yahoo Health News, and JAMA, below each one is a RSS link so you can subscribe to the RSS feed from each site if you desire.

The homepage consists of featured cases, blog posts, groups to join, widgets to add, and a list of forums which covers every specialty. Users have the ability to start groups themselves. When they revamped the site they had to ask everyone to re-register so membership is on the light side right now. As soon as membership expands this will indeed be ‘the place to be’ and an incredible resource. It’s a ‘different animal’ than Sermo, serving a different purpose so there is no conflict of interest there nor a reason to not join one if you belong to the other.

In addition to DoctorsHangout, Dr. Subrahmanyam created DoctorWorld which is a user powered medical news portal. Basically members submit medical content and that content is voted on by its users. The content will be promoted or buried depending on how much it is liked by the community. The more votes the submission gets, the more popular it is. With enough votes, the piece of news will be showcased on the front page of DoctorWorld. It's a place where people submit, discuss, comment, share, vote and promote medical stories and websites. DoctorWorldconcept is inspired from Digg, a technology news website that employs non-hierarchical editorial control. DoctorWorld builds on this concept by adding extra features and functionality for the specific needs of the medical community.

DoctorWorld is a site where you can share whatever you find interesting on the web with people who value your opinion (whether you know who they are or not), and where you can also find what's interesting from people whose opinion are important to you - whether they know who you are or not.

Everything on DoctorWorld is submitted by its users, and after they submit a story, website, etc., other people will read it and give it a thumb up or down. If that story receives enough positive votes, it is promoted to the front page. But...!

While there are other sites offering similar services, in DoctorWorld each user has his or her own "front page", and the stories promoted to a user's front page are determined only by the votes of the people this user has previously selected - these are what we call, the user's Friends. It sounds a little confusing but it really isn’t. It’s not just a friend’s driven social network. With friends on other sites, there is mutual consent and it’s a reciprocal relationship. In DoctorWorld when you select who your friends are you don’t need consent and you don’t become a friend for them. In other words the relationship isn’t reciprocal. The reason they do it this way is because when it comes to trusting other people’s opinions, that’s not really how the world works. You may love your friends but hate their taste in clothes. You may think some person isn’t someone you want to spend time with but think their medical opinion is brilliant.

On DoctorWorld, you’d want him as a ‘friend’. You’d want his opinion when your ‘Front page’ is being set up. But why should this person be forced to add you as a friend when he might not even know you? Just because you like the way he thinks? That is the logic behind DoctorWorld.

Basically the motto of DoctorWorld is Share (submit Web pages and stories you find interesting); Rank (vote for or against what you do and don’t like); Control (select only people’s opinions you trust); and Discover (be informed of pages that get a better ranking by people you’ve selected. It’s really quite ingenious and unique.

Go take the plunge! You’ll be happy you did.