Sunday, 12 December 2010

Health Care Hashtags Resource on Twitter

I've been learning more and more about Twitter

Twitter is a great resource for information about anything you may find interesting.  The river of tweets provides ongoing and rapidly changing news headlines. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user's profile page. At any moment, you can see what people are experiencing, what is important to them and what they are thinking. If the topic of the 'tweet' is your subject area, then you can choose to interact or not. The stream of information lets you know something of interest about what is important to you. Of course, it's sensible to only 'follow' people who's work/life and/or philosophy is of interest to you.

Last week, in response to something I tweeted, I was invited to join a scheduled twitter chat about the use of social media and healthcare on Sunday night.  Here's the link to the conversation. As the benefits of social media in health care, in particular, maternity services and information sharing, is of great interest to me, I joined in.  I found the process confusing at first. The conversation is like being at a big party where everyone is talking at once.  If you read the transcript of the session you will see what I mean.

How amazing that a transcript of the event can be produced and stored in a virtual file to be accessed at any time! That resource is so useful to me.  I was able to return to the information and read it at my leisure. What's the purpose you may ask?  That conversation has much to offer. I was looking for links to any useful information; I wanted to check out how others are thinking about the use of social media, the benefits and pitfalls of doing so. I was also interested in how practitioners are talking about ways to keep professionally safe using the medium; all of which and there was much more in that conversation to explore,  provides food for thought.

For those of you who are interested in health care, Twitter offers a real opportunity to engage in real time with people from anywhere in the world about your topic of interest, from the comfort of your own home/computer.  No need to travel and lose time in getting to different parts of the world to learn from people who know what you want to know; the only expense is your computer and internet server/connection.  A really important and liberating aspect of Twitter is that there is no 'status' to get in the way of discussion or communication on Twitter.  People who are technology nerds, CEO's, journalists, mothers, fathers, PhD's, scientists of all kinds, anyone who is interested, communicate and collaborate in an open, respectful way about their chosen topic.  If anyone is not respectful, they are 'unfollowed' - no one is interested in 'fighting' or engaging with those who 'troll' and disrupt.

This morning, when I was checking the twitterstream # tags for twitterchats on health care and the use of social media (#hcsm and #hcsmanz), I found a tweet about a site that compiled all the twitter conversations about different aspects of  health care.  That site is found here.   I noted that midwifery didn't have a hashtag, so have filled out the form to create a midwifery presence on that site.  I've just been exploring the site that hosts the hashtag directory  and that web page is interesting too, well worth having a look at and considering what an online presence is all about.

If you are interested in exploring the conversation about health care and social media tonight (Sunday) on twitter, join us using the hashtag #hcsmanz in your twitter posts. If you are not yet on Twitter, go here  to learn about Twitter and to open up an account (it's free) and start tweeting!  You can 'follow' me - which means you follow my conversation. You can tweet back anytime you like in response to any tweet. If you do follow me, then put the hashtag #hcsmanz in the tweet. After you post, you can click on the hashtag and that will take you to the list of tweets about that subject. Then you can save that search as a list which can be accessed, with updates, at any time.

I look forward to our conversations on Twitter.

What do you think, will I see you there?  Comments and questions welcome.


Audun Utengen said...

Hi Carolyn,

What a great introduction to Twitter your article is! This should inspire many healthcare professionals to join the conversation.

And thank you for adding a link to The Healthcare Hashtags Project. We're also trying to lower the barrier to enter Twitter. Glad you like it.

Expect some midwifery hashtags to appear soon!

All the best,


Carolyn Hastie said...

Thanks Audun! I appreciate your feedback. Your project is very user friendly. The more midwives access twitter and communicate professionally, the more knowledge and information can be shared with women and between midwives. Time and distance are no barrier. Recently, I needed a photo of a group of breastfeeding women for a item I was creating for students. I tweeted my need and within 24 hours I had the perfect photo and the consent form from the other side of the world. Such is the power of twitter!!