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Posts from the ‘Facebook’ Category

How I Completely Re-Wired My Digital Life: 16 Tips

I’ve been massively active online for at least 10 years therefore I have built networks focusing on my favorite topics leading to a point where I invest my time into human intelligence instead of checking hundreds of article titles every day. Although, as others, I often face the problem of being efficient time-wise online as receiving thousands of social media messages a day makes it a real challenge.


Now I share with you the experience I’ve had in the last 6 months as during that time I have completely re-wired how I use the internet for professional purposes and how I manage my digital life.

Dealing with e-mails: I have to deal with about 200 e-mails a day, the majority of them requiring action from me. I tag e-mails massively in Google Mail and have been teaching Gmail how to categorize my e-mails automatically (important ones, promotions, social media related e-mails, etc.). While some of my colleagues quit using e-mail, I think this is still my information HQ and the official communication channel to me. But I don’t start the morning any more by checking e-mails. Instead, I start the day with reading a chapter in a book. It gives me a great start, plus as my brain is the most active in the early hours, I can learn a lot. After that, I deal with e-mails at specific time periods, otherwise I couldn’t focus properly.

Facebook: I use Facebook for professional purposes and before this time, Facebook was proven to be absolutely useless. But I changed my strategy and unfollowed (hiding their posts from my stream) cc. 1400 out of my 1600 followers. At the same time, I started following about 100 pages focusing on social media and the future of medicine. It means now my Facebook stream is almost free of noise but full of useful information.

Google+: The main streams of my Google+ network are very much hectic, but the communities of Google+ focusing on my areas such as the future, medicine and social media are priceless. Those are the most curated information streams I check every day.

Twitter: This is my key and fastest communication channel. In my experience, people using Twitter can be approached much easier through their Twitter account than via e-mail. As Twitter messages should only contain real information (no garnish), I can respond in seconds. I use Tweetdeck for organizing my streams and get the most important filtered news out of my focused groups easily. Symplur helped me organize topics with new hashtags such as #medicalfuture or #HCSMcourse.

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Linkedin: This is my most professional channel. I’ve been working on improving my profile there for years which resulted in an “All-Star” profile as ranked by LinkedIn. I paid for the premium service showing me those who check my profile and might be potential clients. It also puts my profile high up in search results. It is connected to my blog automatically.

Blogging: This is one of the activities I enjoy the most even after 7 years (have written over 5000 blog entries). To be honest, I still use bookmarks for storing the topics I would like to write about and dedicate at least 5 hours a week to blogging. Whatever project I come up with, I can reach thousands of very relevant people with only one blog entry. My blog is a golden mine for me.

The Ultimate Online Resource: I thought I had so many online channels I needed a professional website serving as an umbrella above all those channels. now shows all my active channels featuring and; and the Medical Futurist Newsletter let me build a network of people interested in the future of medicine. This is now my digital public HQ.

Organizing short- and long-term tasks: One of the toughest challenges I face is organizing the many tasks, projects and jobs I have. The reason why is that although I have thousands of meetings a year and travel a lot, I don’t work in an office and don’t have access to an intellectually rich community in my everyday life. Therefore I have to create this ambiance around me. I use a Google Document with color codes and different sections showing me the tasks of today, of tomorrow, of this week and of this month. Every 4 weeks, I sit down and analyze the long-term goals (months-years) and assign new tasks to my everyday life. This is crucial in order to put effort into things that really matter. This system now makes sure I keep being motivated without artificial or external inputs.

Just before deadline

Bookmarks: When you save tens of thousands of links, a traditional bookmark is not enough any more. The links I might need later are saved and categorized by (as I shorten almost all the links I share). By creating bundles, it lets me organize these links in a convenient way.

Web browser: About 2 years ago, I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome and I have no idea why I didn’t start using it earlier. All the devices I use (PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone) have Chrome and it automatically synchronizes my settings, bookmarks and browser history. It makes my life easier.

Automatic updates: There are pieces of information I need to collect through non-structured channels such as search engines. As I don’t have to go back and search for the same things again and again, I use Google Alerts for getting updates about certain topics; and use‘s Save Search function to get peer-reviewed papers automatically focusing on my areas.

Feedly: While some people think RSS is so web 2.0-ish, I couldn’t live without it as my information resources would be hectic while I need a very much structured way of following resources. Feedly lets me organize websites into categories and now I follow 430 resources easily.

Improving cognitive skills: I’m a huge fan of life-long learning as I believe improving my cognitive skills should be a priority at any point in my life. When I came across Lumosity, I knew I found what I’d been looking for. I’ve been using it for 5 months and I can feel how better I’m at different tasks that require good memory, speed, flexibility or other skills. It only takes 5 minutes a day. When I have to wait somewhere, I grab my phone and use Dr. Newton, a game for improving cognitive skills therefore I always try to do something useful for my brain.


Focus: Dealing with hundreds of messages and thousands of pieces of information is one thing, but the projects I work on require real focus. In order to make it easier for myself, I use time frames for different tasks (such as checking e-mails or using Twitter) every day and keep other timeframes free for tasks that require real focus. Focus@Will has been proven to facilitate this for me.

Learning new things: No matter, how limited my free time is, I must constantly try to learn new things. As I have wanted to learn to speak Spanish for years, I decided to download Duolingo and follow its instructions as it teaches languages in a gamified and interesting way. I love it.

Physical activities: I cannot work efficiently without living a healthly life and being physically active. I use the wearable Shine to make sure I exercise enough every single day and do include the exercises I have to do every day in my Google Document. I realized I really accomplish things and tasks that are in my time-management Google Document and adding the details of doing physical activities as such tasks to that as well turned out to be a great solution for motivating myself.

I hope this experience of over 6 months will help you be more efficient and successful in your personal and digital lives as well!

This is your Face on the Internet, and you might need to Wash it!

I’ve come across a very interesting  service,, that offers to wash all the non-desirable content from your social media accounts. It says after graduation, a professional life should start with erasing all the party photos and other materials.

While I agree with its mission, it should be performed by medical professionals themselves; and I teach medical students how to avoid such potential problems in time.


Now it only works with Facebook, in details, this way:

  • FaceWash™ will perform a search and return results in conceptual chunks, for example “Comments posted on your wall” and “Links that you have liked.”
  • Each result has a blue, clickable link that takes you directly to the post. There you can delete or privatize your post as desired.
  • Welcome to the cleanest Face you’ve ever had on Facebook.

Facebook Graph Search in Medicine

Everyone has heard about the new Graph Search function on Facebook. It says “Want to start a book club or find a gym buddy? Connect with friends who like the same activities—and meet new people, too.” It will let Facebook users do searches by choosing different parameters (e.g. who goes to the same gym as me and is single).

Well, many bloggers are optimistic about this launch and think it will be used in medicine too. I don’t think so and everyone should hope I’ll be right. It’s fun to identify friends in my community who I share the same multiple interests with (e.g. sci-fi and reading books), but the same concept in medicine just should not work. Here are examples what Michael Spitz came up with:

  • “What do my friends think about HIV?”
  • “Do any of my friends have erectile dysfunction?”
  • “Have any of my friends had a bad reaction to taking Drug X?”
  • “What do you think about Dr. Y?”
  • “How was your stay at hospital Z?”

Only a minority of Facebook users would add the medical conditions they have to their profile; or publish a post about a side effect of a new drug they are taking. As such data would not be added to Facebook, it will not be used for search. Moreover, if Facebook makes it clear to my friends which gym I go to, that’s OK as far as this is within the privacy borders I set; but making clear which conditions I have or which drugs I take is just not the function I expect from a social networking site.

WolframAlpha works fine because data are added in a professional, anonymous and structured way. See all the medical examples they have.


There are other platforms such as Yandex Wonder doing the same as Facebook Graph but in a much better quality and with much more data (its access to Facebook was blocked when Facebook Graph was released, what a “coincidence”). But it still might not be used for medical purposes.

[vimeo 57837929]

So expect to see this kind of search engines in the near future, but hopefully this new feature will not breach the privacy of patients and doctors on Facebook.


Dealing with Patients on Facebook: Key Issue!

In my course in which I also describe what doctors should do when patients add them as friends on Facebook, we cover topics that are related to the everyday lives of physicians from the digital perspective. A few days ago, Joel Topf, nephrologist, told me on Twitter that he used my method when a patient added him on Facebook:

If the profile is personal, I reject the request and send a private message to the patients explaining why I did that: this is a personal account, while our relationship is professional. They always understand and accept my decision.

Then I asked Joel whether it worked out well.


My method is based on purely natural communication and transparent reasoning. This is why it works. 


Facebook App Wiped Facebook Timeline for Alzheimer Day

This is a really unique idea for raising awareness about one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the loss of long-term memory. The Facebook app wiped our Facebook timelines for one day.

An awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s Disease International is asking people to donate their Facebook timeline in support of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21st. By downloading an app, Facebook users will be able to experience how it feels to lose their memories for a day.

The app will lie dormant until September 21st when it will activate, wiping users’ memories from their timeline including pictures, status, videos, friends, etc. These will be replaced with a message that reads: “Imagine your life without memories. For 36 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease, this is reality.”

Analyze Your Facebook Presence on WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha, my favorite search engine, keeps on coming up with amazing ideas. The latest one is that you can analyze your whole Facebook presence in details.

Pharma has been paying a lot of money to companies focusing on social media analytics and now they can get it for free.

Facebook’s Organ Donor Project: Aftermath

More than a week ago, we all expected something amazing from Facebook as they were about to hold a press conference focusing on a new health-related initiative. Then Facebook announced they would let users mark themselves as organ donors on their own timelines. While it is a nice initiative, I expected much much more from a community site with almost a billion users, to be honest.

“Many of those people — an average of 18 people per day –- will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need,” Facebook notes in a blog entry explaining the move. “Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis.”

As the video above explains, designating yourself as an organ donor is easy. All you need to do is go to your Timeline, click on “Life Event” and then “Health & Wellness.” Then, you’ll see the option for “Organ Donor.” At that point, you can add when and where you registered and your personal story.

What about the aftermath, the results?

6000 people registered… Compared to the 1 billion users, we couldn’t say it is a real success. We will see how it evolves. But Facebook must come up with more creative projects.


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