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Name: Elliot B. Tapper, MD

Institution: University of Michigan Medical Center

Find me on: Twitter — @ebtapper

How do you use social media in your professional life?
I use social media in a couple of ways. First, I use it to stay informed. I follow our professional societies, researchers and AASLD members from around the world, patients/advocates, and journals. I also look for the broadest perspectives possible by following people outside my field including nephrologists, cardiologists, oncologists, nurses, etc. It makes me a more informed clinician and researcher. Second, I use social media to share my enthusiasm for hepatology and our field’s research. I focus on trying to disseminate information about the specific needs of patients with cirrhosis. One way that I do this is through “tweetorials,” or a series of linked tweets that highlight the what and why of liver physiology and best practices.

What platforms bring you the most value and why?
Twitter is having a moment in medical education and research dissemination unmatched by the other platforms. By periodically checking Twitter – while waiting for the elevator, (safely) walking down a hall – I can learn so much.

Why is it important for hepatologists and hepatology health care professionals to be on social media?
We can all learn from each other and the more we promote liver research and activities, the better. Our patients are among the most complex in medicine yet we are rarely present at the point of care to inform best practice. There is tremendous interest to learn about liver disease from clinicians in other fields.

What tips do you have for your colleagues who want to get started on social media?
Make a profile. Say who you are and where you are from. Follow friends, journals, societies. This is stage one. Eventually you will start ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting.’ You don’t ever have to say anything, but if you feel comfortable, do it! And please say hi.