Here’s a quick look at where #LifeofaMedStudent came from, and where I hope to take it.
I’ve been blessed to run #LifeofaMedStudent. It started back in December 2011 – when I was a 3rd year medical student. I started the Twitter account because I wanted to find a hashtag that identified the unique lives that medical students had and allowed them to connect. Much of it humor to start, it focused on the sometimes hilariously sad aspects of medical training. As it grew, medical students could share tips, advice, stories through social media.
At the time #LifeofaMedStudent started, there were several other twitter sites that were much more popular – you might remember some of them:
- @MedStudentProbl (MedStudent Problems) – over 20k followers, but no tweets since 2014. This site already had 18k followers when #LifeofaMedStudent got it’s first.
- @medschoollife (Med Student) – just under 20k followers, about 10 tweets total in 2016.
- @medschoolhumor (MedSchoolHumor) – 26k followers, <20 tweets in 2016.
- @medschooladdict (MedSchool Addict) – 6k followers, no tweets since 2013.
And countless others who never even became as popular as these and have faded away. Why has #LifeofaMedStudent continued to grow?
What I believe allowed #LifeofaMedStudent to succeed was two fold. One, I was one of the first medical student Twitter accounts to actively retweet many of the users of a hashtag. The above accounts were far less interactive and I wanted to it to be less about myself (or a “anon” medical account) and more about the #LifeofaMedStudent idea: A connection for medical students everywhere to share their experiences – funny, sad, or even advice – in the 140 character Twitter limit.
The second part is that while I had a few slow years where my own tweet count was lower, I never stopped consistently adding material or retweeting others who enjoyed the #LifeofaMedStudent expression. This kept people following along and continued to grow the follower count. I still remember when I crossed 10,000, 20, then 30, then 40, and in December 2016 over 50,000 followers. It took 5 years, but it amazes me still.
As my follower count grew, I started getting more and more questions from people wanting advice or my thoughts on relevant issues to medical training. I knew I had developed a platform that could offer a lot to those behind me, but I wasn’t sure how. I tried a variety of ways to answer, but found the processes inefficient. DMs get lost too easily and I had no way to answer similar questions to multiple people. I tried AskFM for a bit, but that medium never really caught on. Additionally, 140 characters is just to little to debate complex topics or give detailed advice for medical school.
In Summer 2016 after getting interested in financial blogs – it hit me. I’d start my own website/blog. It’d be about my own experiences in medicine and be able to answer the many similar questions I receive from students and residents. I’d also emphasize some bit of financial training, something I feel the medical training world lacks. It would continue the #LifeofaMedStudent twitter brand but finally in much more than 140 characters. And thus, lifeofamedstudent.com was formed.
It’s been an early success, with well over 50,000 views in just less than 6 months. My posts have been featured on Doximity and KevinMD, as well as a few major financial blogs. I get to interact with physicians, students, and educators all over – sometimes in agreement, other times in opposing views. The open dialogue and discussion is one of my favorite parts of the site.
As for the future, I hope to bring the website closer to the original roots of the #LifeofaMedStudent idea. I want the site to slowly be less about me, and more a VOICE for all those who are training in the medical field. I’ll continue to lend my ideas, experience, advice in posts. But mostly, I want the site to be about the #LifeofaMedStudent. To do that, I’ll put more emphasis on contributor posts from pre-meds, medical students, residents, and physicians from all over the world. There are so many great ideas out there that need to be shared. So many excellent experiences that I haven’t personally had. So many different backgrounds that I can’t relate to, but many can. There is so much more out there in medical students across the world, that I can’t personally provide. But as the #LifeofaMedStudent idea – each of these stories is important and should be shared – and I plan to do just that!
Here’s to 2017 and to #LifeofaMedStudent – a VOICE in social media for all those those in medical training!
Have an exciting medical story to tell or some advice to give? A unique background or path into medicine? Want to share your own post or experience with others?
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