I am the definition of a lurker, barely ever generating content and when I do its rarely of substance more than a picture. But my social media feeds are flooded by subscriptions to professional outlets, researchers and others of interest (plus the obligatory connections who provide reprieve with pets and food). I only recently came to the realization that my social network subscriptions are my professional network data stream. The prominent researchers and organizations in healthcare informatics are all quick to announce their latest projects and publication. As a new researcher, getting their attention and having them post/comment about your work is almost more important than any journal impact factor.
This networked experience bypasses the traditional peer review process. But in reality the review process has just transformed. Instead of the mysterious “reviewer 3” who never likes anything we submit and always has required changes, the reviewers have to own their comments, and be prepared to defend themselves not only from the author but from others who share the authors views. With the pace of developments to healthcare informatics the networked approach speeds up dissemination, allowing all of the industry to work together to address healthcare issues and improve patient safety. It definitely is a benefit to the industry, but as a reticent participant in the social networking world, I wonder if it will reach a point where the focus shifts on maintaining a social media based persona more than the research itself.