Two items about social media.
1) I often get the question in interviews, “How much time do you spend on your blog and other social media?” I often answer, “You wouldn’t think of asking me how much time I spend on the telephone, and it is a lot less efficient than social media.”
Think about it this way. A major advantage of social media is its asynchronicity. The person or people with whom I am communicating do not have to be doing it at the same time as I do. Another advantage, of course, is the broader reach of social media, being able to be in touch with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people.
But, for those who still want to know. I usually write one blog post per day. I’m a pretty fast writer, so that takes 10 to 15 minutes, usually at home at night or first thing in the morning. (This one is being composed during the Celtics-Lakers game!) When readers submit comments, I get email notifications so I can monitor those comments. As you can note from looking at the blog, there are unlikely to be more than two dozen comments per day. Each one takes just a few seconds to review and post.
Keeping up with Facebook and Twitter are “fill-in” activities during the day. I leave them open and check when I have a minute or two. (I send birthday greetings from home before going to work.)
Regarding email, I try to check accumulated messages at least once per half hour, depending on my meeting schedule. I do that because I do not want to be a bottleneck while people wait for my assent or opinion on matters related to hospital business. One trick of time management I learned years ago is to read each message only once and act on it immediately. That is usually possible, although some messages take extra thought and therefore require a return visit later in the day.
2) Regarding social media access in the work place, I received the following email message this morning:
I’ve noticed significant Facebook usage among employees at work on hospital computers.
I believe this distraction has a significant effect on productivity.
I have friends in private practice who have fired employees for using social media sites at work while they are supposed to be attending to patients.
It may be time to add Facebook to the list of blocked sites; a list that includes sections of Craigslist, the lottery, and pornography.
To which I replied:
Sorry, but absolutely not. Facebook is a useful communications tool, just like email and telephones. The latter can be misused, too. Besides, if you ban Facebook on computers, people will just use it on their iphones.
Paul Levy is the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center in Boston. Paul recently became the focus of much media attention when he decided to publish infection rates at his hospital, despite the fact that under Massachusetts law he is not yet required to do so. For the past three years he has blogged about his experiences in an online journal, Running a Hospital, one of the few blogs we know of maintained by a senior hospital executive.