Each of us has an online presence. When you google your name what does it bring up? That is your online personal brand.

My name is Dr Lucy Manyara, an ophthalmologist and lecturer at KMTC. Having been a trainer for many years in KMTC presented me with many opportunities and a fair share of challenges, all which have built my repertoire to what it is today. 

This era of internet has brought myriad opportunities to learn and teach and I have found myself listening to videos to learn from the very mundane to the most complex disciplines. Today there are over 2 Billion people watching YouTube on a daily basis and these are huge numbers, a huge market. Many people are constantly turning to YouTube for answers, ideas or entertainment. Listening to videos may not be as mentally involving as reading a book so it is a lazy way of learning and gaining knowledge on a topic of interest. I have always written blog posts on eye care matters but I think YouTube has a unique and bigger coverage to educate.

The opportunity: When covid-19 happened at the beginning of this year, most teaching went online and we were forced to learn and adjust to the new normal of navigating the virtual space. The new normal involved use of the online platform to communicate and teach students. As we began this process it was evident that the majority of the students were not able to attend the sessions in real time for various reasons from lack of data to poor network connection. This situation was not going to improve any time as most of the students had left the major towns to their rural homes. This presented an opportunity to record the lectures so students could access them when they were able to. As I did this, it occurred to me that I could use the YouTube platform to teach patients and the general public about eye health. So 5 months ago I started a YouTube channel in which I upload videos on various topics on eye care matters and a few on general medicine and research for the students. The sessions have been able to educate and answer questions from patients and students alike. 

What I have learnt: I have been on you tube for 5 months so I can only point to what I have learnt thus far. In my opinion, there are three things to make YouTube work and the first is to just begin. It is hard being out there, showing a bit of not so polished at it but you cannot be good until you get an experience to push you to progress towards being better.  Practice makes progress, so just start and learn along the way. There are so many resources to learn from and we are spoilt for choice. Secondly you must define your idea of success. It could be to educate, inspire, motivate or market your services and products or increase market share and sales. Whichever you choose, get a way to monitor the progress. Finally, choose your niche and just be consistent with putting out good content, do not worry so much about quality at first because this will improve as you go on.

What type of content: One can document procedures for example cataract surgery, certain treatments at your clinic and share it out for students or patients to watch. The language used will differ depending on the target group.  Remember expertise will come as you document more videos but you can ask for help from experts who do filming. I personally do my own recording at my office with my laptop, using nothing sophisticated but it can be as sophisticated as it can get. It would be great to see videos of our local doctors performing various procedures and this would be an important resource for the trainees. Several of these videos can be collated and used as a basic resource for training.

For inputs, feedback and questions, feel free to get to me on lucymanyara@gmail.com