To the Editor.—Sorry, Dr Glassy, but pathologists should not use Twitter or Facebook to become “transformed” as you suggest in your editorial in the October 2010 Archives.1 

Perhaps some of us do need to become more imaginative, determined, innovative, social, and human, but the social media are the wrong tools. Social networks were created by nerdy young geeks who are incredibly intelligent, energetic, and entrepreneurial but may well be lacking social and interpersonal skills. These sites are designed to create pseudo-connections while preserving anonymity. They are devices for creating the myth of intimacy when in fact they create distance. They provide cover, not transparency. There are no standards or controls regarding content, one does not know who actually authors any of the content, and one certainly cannot know who sponsors or pays for any entry.

If social networks cannot transform pathologists or make them more human, is there an alternative? Indeed there is and it does not depend on technology. Pierre W. Keitges, MD, CAP Governor from 1980 to 1986, was the perfect pathologist—he celebrated human interaction with great communication and interpersonal skills—he did not need to be transformed or “humanized”—he defined and practiced as the “involved pathologist.” 2 

The involved pathologist is a superb scientist and diagnostician. The involved pathologist is a physician who understands the problems of the clinician.3,4 The involved pathologist “makes rounds” in the doctors dining room and has lunch with his clinical colleagues. The involved pathologist volunteers for medical staff committees and attends the medical staff dinner dance. The involved pathologist becomes friends with the hospital administrator and participates in the hospital golf and tennis tournaments. The involved pathologist is visible on the hospital wards and in the operating suite. The involved pathologist knows the names of all of the laboratory staff and cares about them. The involved pathologist helps raise money for the hospital and is active in the community and in medical and specialty societies.

Most of us already do all these things, but if there are pathologists who do wish to be transformed, I recommend the Keitges “involved” model to make them not only human but indispensable.

1.
Glassy
EF
.
The rise of the social pathologist: the importance of social media to pathology
.
Arch Pathol Lab Med
.
2010
;
134
(
10
):
1421
1423
.
2.
Keitges
PW
.
The involved pathologist
.
Paper presented at: American Society for Clinical Pathology/College of American Pathologists Spring Meeting; April 8, 1997; Chicago, IL
.
3.
Horowitz
RE
.
The successful community hospital pathologist: what it takes
.
Hum Pathol
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1998
;
29
(
3
):
211
214
.
4.
Horowitz
RE
.
Expectations and essentials for the community practice of pathology
.
Hum Pathol
.
2006
;
37
(
8
):
969
973
.

The author has no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.