Thursday, March 18, 2010

Randall Wong, MD: TV versus the Internet

Is the authority of the Internet greater than that of TV? I just read an article by Paul Stubenbordt entitled "As Seen on TV." In the article, he cites the power and influence of TV and recommends it as the favored choice for advertising for docs. He writes, "Like no other medium, people really do believe what they see on TV."

If TV is still No. 1 for docs, then I'd have to say that the Internet is a very, very close second (I was going to say “No. 2”). We all hear about it every day, an assumed authority called the Internet. Somehow TV and the Internet are de facto places of authorities. I wonder where libraries rank?

But doctors are the real authorities. I wrote earlier about the authority that doctors have earned. Doctors are probably as high an authority figure as we have in our society...maybe as high as police officers. Authorities receive automatic credibility.

How about taking the No. 1 authority (that's us) to lend credibility to the Internet?
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If TV is still No. 1, it is only because there are so few docs that have yet to embrace the Internet. There are very few who have learned how to use the Web to effectively promote themselves and their practices.

With so little competition, if you were to start right now, you'd have a respectable Web presence within the next six months.

Remember, your goal is to achieve a ranking within the top 10 of a search, not No. 1. Engage the Internet in any format you prefer:

• Text and images are the old time standard. Web pages and blogs are popular examples. Common uses for a Web page are to show off your practice and to blog about your medical knowledge (not necessarily your expertise).

• Power Point presentations via are an easy way to start a Web presence. You can upload the presentation just the same way you'd upload a YouTube video. Why not use the same PP presentation you just gave at a local talk?

• Video - you can be as basic (a very popular way though) as using the webcam on top of your computer or you can have a full scale production, whatever you like. The video can be placed on YouTube and other social media sites, including your own Web page. The topic can be an infomercial about yourself or your practice. You might also consider talking about H1N1 availability at your office.

• Images - services such as Flickr share images. You could upload clinical presentation on poison ivy showing different pics of the offending plants and the resultant skin rashes. This presentation would then be linked to you and/or your Web page and practice.

The Internet needs more docs. However you want, engage the Internet. We are the authorities on health. There is a paucity of good, credible health information on the Internet. Share your authority with the public. Use any format to get started, start slowly and proceed at your pace. Make the Internet credible. Patients should be learning from us, not TV.

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