Hashtag . . . social media

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 8, October 2017, page(s) 392 Editorials
David R. Richardson, MD

When I enter my office examination rooms, patients are often interacting with their smart phones. My demographic (let’s call them the old-timers) are usually playing solitaire or some other game. I often ask the younger generations what they are so focused on as a way of building rapport. When they answer that they are on Snapchat or Tumblr, my blank look has the opposite effect. I figure many of you are in the same relic-from-a-bygone-age boat, so I’ve decided it’s time we educate ourselves about social media.

I think pretty much all of you are familiar with Facebook, the popular social networking service where you can pay to put your likeness on a hardcover book. However, I think for many of you this is where you drop off the social curve.

Instagram is a photo-sharing application—if you use it you instantly become a little heavier. Fortunately, you can send this “gram” to your friends or other users of the application by touching them with marijuana. This hashtag carries the pound symbol (#), which ties back to the weight theme.

The image-messaging and multimedia application Snapchat is all the rage with young people, and apparently its use is more prevalent than Facebook or Instagram among this group. Once registered, the user is able to turn their phone on and talk to their friends with a snap of their fingers, similar to the Clapper that we old-timers are familiar with (“clap on, clap off”). However, you have to be careful because once you finish listening to your friend, they disappear.

The application Pinterest is for individuals fascinated by the letter P, a condition that’s not yet classified as an illness by the International Classification of Diseases. This site allows users to save images that begin with or contain the letter P and organize those images on different boards. Once a board is complete, users can share or follow other users’ boards if they have similar tastes, which always happens because they all love pirates, pelicans, pomegranates, etc.

Tumblr is a microblogging website that allows users to post multimedia and other content as long as they type in small letters. If the font is ever increased or capitals are used, the blogger is “tumbled” and his or her accounts are drained. One blogger used large bold print and was never heard from again.

Last but not least, Twitter is another much better known blogging platform. Users post “tweets” that are restricted to 140 characters. This restriction is a good thing, as it has been made famous by a certain individual who is unable to complete even close to 140 characters. Apparently he is often heard saying, “Believe me, nobody tweets better than me and anyone who says different is fake news.”

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more social media platforms out there, and by the time this is published there will likely be many more. I have just tried to give you some basic knowledge so you can better deal with all those millennials in your practice. Imagine the look on their faces when you enter the room and state, “Oh snap, when you tumble those tweets, make sure to pin some tags.”