Navigating the Waters of Social Media

Oh, no! My social media platform is growing…. But what do I do when a post generates controversy?

The inevitable journey of practicing functional medicine today.

I know first-hand that it can feel really uncomfortable to put oneself out there into the world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever platform gallops forth to take the world by storm.

I recently received some unexpected attention after an Instagram (IG) post about a fairly controversial topic around safety issues with supplementation of B12 and folic acid.  I shared the 2018 sub-analysis findings from the B-PROOF study linking these to increased incidence of colon cancer in elderly individuals.  You can find the original post HERE if you missed it.

There was so much buzz around it, even though I regularly write and lecture on this topic, I was taken aback by the sudden super focus! That said, I completely understood my readership’s concern around the safety of B vitamins, about the validity of the study and about the type of B12 and folate used, to name a few of the top issues.

What to do?

Here is how I chose to address a “viral” controversy:

Initially, I paused for a day or so. I didn’t want to jump in without a little breathing room. Frankly, the attention was a bit outside of my wheelhouse. Coming back to it as a grounded professional made all the difference.

After conferring with my team (those way more SM savvy than myself!), I chose to create a video response of my thoughts on the study, how we languaged the post, and my big picture thinking on methylation and methyl donors in general. It was the first time I’ve responded in such a way, and I found it remarkably satisfying.

I engaged in an authentic, deeper conversation on a topic important to me—and as I now know—important to many others, too.

Here is the video post I generated.  (you can also watch it on IGTV HERE.)

Here’s what I learned from this experience:

  • If you’re on social media, and you’re posting genuinely good content, don’t be afraid to generate some buzz, but always back yourself with solid research and clinical evidence.
  • Be careful to avoid scare tactics that are common in the competitive “click-bait” media world. Focus on authentic and responsible content that will empower your community with steps they can take to thrive.
  • Social media is meant to be social, if you’re lucky enough to have an active and engaged audience, take advantage, connect and learn from your community.

We’re all navigating new waters in the world of social media. On one hand, it’s exciting because it’s a powerful tool to start a conversation and advance the paradigm of FxMed. On the other, many of you might feel like you need some guidance and support to navigate these waters. That’s why having your own tribe of like-minded practitioners is so important, and why I value our Functional Medicine Clinic Immersion community so much.


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