April 30, 2013
More social media
I've been playing with Twitter (@rbstansfield) as a work-related information channel. I follow medical education hashtags (#meded is used a lot, but also some conference-specific ones pop up occasionally). I have noticed a few things. These are in no particular order:
- At least 80% of of #meded tweets are about social media itself. Doctors and medical educations on Twitter seem primarily interested in promoting the use of Twitter for doctoring and medical educating. It almost seems like a joke with so many people talking about how great this tool is but very little evidence that anyone is actually using the tool for anything.
- There's a powerful skew to the tweets-per-user. I had to actually unfollow one prominent meded tweeter because my feed was almost homogenously him. I've since started following a lot more users so perhaps it wouldn't be so aversive now. But in general most tweets in my feed come from only a small percentage of the people I follow.
- There's little space to do more than just link. Any idea or argument with more than one logical step has to be planned carefully. The linguistic compression necessary to keep tweets short renders text unreadable after a while. Again, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it as I go.
- There's a bland kind of hyperbole in the community. And the hyperbole tends to be positive. Right now there's a tweet being re-tweeted in my feed: here it is. It's very typical of my Twitter feed content. It's a nod to a brief web article with a summary that sounds intriguing: how do med students use apps? Well if you follow the link you learn that most med students have smartphones with the iPhone being the most popular and that they spend a good amount time using "apps" on them but not so much around patients because they don't want to give the impression of being disengaged or callous. That's good, I guess, but it's hardly a description of how med students use apps. This tweet will bounce around a few people's feeds and occupy a few minds for a few minutes before evaporating. I doubt it will help anything or inspire anyone or change anyone's mind about anything. But it's quick and it's fast and there's an awful lot of it so in the aggregate it's probably having a bigger impact.
So that's where I am with Twitter. What am I missing?
Posted by rbrent at April 30, 2013 07:03 AM