An Introduction and Guide to Becoming a Social Media Savvy Nephrologists

Natasha N. Dave; Matthew A. Sparks; Samira S. Farouk


Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2022;37(1):14-20. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The use of social media has increased over the last several decades, with ~72% of the US adult population indicating the use of social networking platforms. Expansion of social media use beyond personal reasons now includes professional uses. This growth is especially true in medicine—and specifically nephrology. An enhanced online presence has the potential to make positive contributions to professional development, education and collaborations, potentially opening doors to academic opportunities. With a growing number of online platforms, resources and conversations, it is natural for one to feel overwhelmed and ultimately avoid social media. We discuss the benefits of social media engagement for nephrologists and provide a practical guide on how they can harness social media professionally and effectively. With an understanding of the basics, existing resources and avoidance of potential pitfalls, physicians can learn to use social media and join the global nephrology community.


The use of social media has changed the way we interact. Communication has evolved from a mostly private two-way dialog to a global, always-on network of individuals. Social media has the potential to accelerate and introduce new relationships between individuals that, in the past, would have had more obstacles to overcome. Within the last decade, social networking use has increased almost 10-fold from 7% of the US adult population to 72%.[1] For many, transactions that used to occur in person are now conducted remotely via mobile phones and computers. As a result of this evolution, many retail companies are switching from a bricks-and-mortar setting to electronic commerce for improved customer reach, visibility and profit ratio.[2] Similarly, hospital systems, medical societies and journals are now embracing social media as a means of dissemination and enhancement of connectedness, community and even reputation.[3–8] Importantly, social media has allowed for any individual to share information and create educational content with minimal barriers, such as publishing companies, print journals or news magazines. With the success of this online migration, social media is no longer being restricted to one's personal life and many are integrating social media into their professional lives. Simultaneously, smartphone usage has become nearly ubiquitous and the preferred way to access information and news.[9] These factors have coalesced to allow medical professionals to take advantage of social media and utilize these networks for self-education and increased outreach. Here, we discuss the growth of the nephrology social media community and the benefits of participation, and provide strategies for nephrologists to effectively use social media platforms.