In this episode of the AGA podcast, Small Talk, Big Topics, hosts Matthew Whitson and Nina Nandy interview Dr. Austin Chiang. Austin is the director of bariatric endoscopy at Jefferson Health, as well as their chief medical social media officer. Austin also is the founding member and president of the Association for Healthcare Social Media (AHSM). The episode focuses on how Austin found his niche as a GI professional and academic in the social media space and how he finds social media to be useful to the field.
Austin excels in using social media in a talented, humorous and effective way. His skill is rooted, first, in his years-old interest in social media. Social media’s coming-of-age came at a formative time in Austin’s own life, as he used platforms like MySpace as a teen and followed the launch of Facebook in college. Austin was intrigued by the question of how patients receive news through the media, and through his research decided to engage as a professional on Twitter. He then tried to develop an account for his GI division, and this began his work of wading through red tape, establishing himself within the social media space, and working as an early adopter of platforms on behalf of the GI field.
The main benefits Austin has found social media to offer to the field are access to patients and the ability to disseminate academic information to the public. He is especially excited about TikTok right now, since it pushes material out broadly, though he finds that most academic GI conversation takes place on Twitter. Austin comments on patients’ responses to social media content, and also shares about the possibilities for practitioners to network and collaborate, support people doing good work, counter misinformation, and even share their own work.
Of course, as a trailblazer in bringing GI to social media, Austin has faced his fair share of backlash, which he details for his hosts. While there are challenges, Austin has seen and continues to see growth in the field’s use of social media. In closing, he offers advice on having a positive impact through social media and getting involved in the space, comments on people who navigate the space well, and offers general advice for getting the career you want.
Connect with Austin on his website and on all social media platforms @AustinChiangMD: Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn
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