As I work to encourage more physicians and health care workers to join me in social media, I stopped yesterday, to reflect on how much I enjoy and have grown personally and professionally because of my online community. Social media tools certainly aren’t just about what I say–my community online is far more about what I learn. I have made some real friends via social networks and Twitter. This virtual space is very real to me. My patients and families in clinic tell me this often, too. I have a whole new set of comprehensions, friendships, and perspectives because of these friends (and foes). Social spaces are important to me. Although I’m constantly out of balance and need to find more time to unplug, I wouldn’t ever want to leave this cyber space. I’d simply miss my friends. Many of them live far away; I can’t invite them over to dinner.

Last week I tweeted about a dream I had about Dooce. She’s the queen bee of mommy bloggers. I’ve never met her (would love to, clearly) and thus my thoughts metamorphosed into a dream. I’m a big teller of dreams. Haven’t you had a vivid dream about someone, run into them the following day, and felt you knew them much better? All fictional, maybe, but relevant to your reality. I usually out myself and share my dream. Foolish maybe. Most others, it appears, worry about the vulnerability of doing so. So recently it was a treat to check my email amidst a very busy day when…

There was an e-mail entitled “not urgent.” Its label, of course, caused me to open it immediately. Reverse psychology works beautifully:

Dr. Swanson,

I don’t know if it was because of your tweet (your dream about @dooce,) but I dreamt last night that I met you – in the “I-swear-I-am-not-creepy” kind of way!
In fact, you came to my house.
I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when you rang at the door.
You were in a million-dollar dress and Lady Gaga-esque black sunglasses. You walked right past me, and looking at the food on the table, said, “That’s nice, but that will never be enough to feed my crew.”
“Your crew?”
Then, 15 men with cameras and boom-mics busting into my living room. You say, “This is really cute, what you’ve done here…. I think we need to go live.”
“Go live?”
Then, you are sitting on the floor of my living room, doing a “live blog” from my house – still with the sunglasses on.
And as quick as you came, you left.,
I woke up this morning and just had to laugh at myself and the ridiculousness of the dream. I though I would share, hoping you will get a laugh too.

Please know you would always be welcome at my house, but please leave the sunglasses (and crew) at home.

I’ve never met the author of the e-mail (and the dream), a pediatrician and writer yet am so happy to have found another friend willing to share the silliness-es of her head and the journeys of her dreams. We’re all learning together how to improve communication about pediatrics and parenting. And every once and a while, it’s a lot of fun. I’ll try to have an outfit one day that lives up to that dress and those sunglasses (if the above ones won’t do), but more, I’m just thankful for my friend.