TMA Social Media Resource Center

Social media are online tools for sharing and discussing information. These tools allow users to create and share content -- including text, graphics, audio, and video. These tools include Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeDelicious, Pinterest, and Flickr. Physicians and medical students use these and other social media tools in their personal and professional lives. Some limited-access social networking tools, such as DocSite, DocbookMD, and Sermo, were developed specifically for use by physicians, students, and office staff. 

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  Legal and Ethical Issues to Consider

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A blog (short for "weblog") is a type of Web site. According to Wikipedia, blogs contain "regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order." They frequently allow readers to comment on the contents of blog entries, and for subsequent readers to comment on the comments, thus creating an online conversation. Blogs can be created and maintained by individuals, organizations, and corporations. Most of the nation's large newspapers today publish their stories online in a blog format, allowing readers to discuss them amongst themselves. 

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Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length that are displayed on the user's Twitter page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery only to their followers or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter Web site, Short Message Service (SMS), or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees. Twitterers are known by their "handles," which are usually indicated by the "@" sign, e.g. @texmed. (Thanks to Wikipedia for much of the above.)

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Social Networks

A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are Web-based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services. Social networking has encouraged new ways to communicate and share information. Social networks are being used regularly by millions of people. The most popular of these, Facebook, recently surpassed 200 million users. If Facebook were a country, it would be the fifth most populated nation on the planet, following China, India, the U.S., and Indonesia. (Thanks, again, to Wikipedia for most of the above.)

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Texas Medical Association Social Media Presence

TMA is experimenting with many social media tools to discover which ones are most useful to TMA members and which ones best enhance the quality of TMA's relationship with its members. TMA's social media tools currently in use include:

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