Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Do you want to be a Twitter star?

Dr. Ves, arguably THE expert on doctors' use of social media for education, shows you how.

I have been blogging for almost 6 years. I still don't Tweet. Why? A couple of observations. As Dr. Ves noted:

There is a flood of medical news that hits the wires every day. I want to know what YOU think is important. Share the 3-10 news items per day that you find interesting. I will subscribe to read them. Many will do the same.

That's precisely the problem with using Twitter in medicine. It's an aggregator of medical “news.” Despite the daily deluge of pieces of information from the popular media and scientific literature, true advances in medicine are only rarely to be found in the medical “news of the day.” Medical science progresses in small increments, one study building on another. As Steve Milloy wrote on page 46 of his book Junk Science Judo:

...keep the slow, steady ho-hum scientific method in mind. Boring? Sure. Tedious? You betcha. Slow and deliberative? Be grateful.

When medical research is presented in the sound bite fashion of the typical Tweet it is inevitably subject to distortion because there's neither time nor space to address important nuances and background information. (Due to the constraints of time many of the posts on my blog are brief link dumps but I try to provide more depth when I can).

So I'm not Tweeting right now. That's not to say I won't find a reason to Tweet in the future. But if your objective is to drive traffic to your blog with a series of rapid fire mini posts, why not just “Tweet” on your blog? After all the blogfather himself, Instapundit, does it to great effect!


Clinical Cases and Images: CasesBlog said...

Great summary. I have always found your perspective valuable. You can indeed "tweet" on your blog. However, you can expand the readers and the social network effect by posting on Twitter. A lot of people who are on Twitter would not visit medical blogs regularly. In addition, blogs have lost a lot of the community feel the previously had. Comments have all but disappeared on many of them. Twitter functions as a comment system for blog posts. You can even get feedback before writing a blog post. These are just a few of the benefits of being on Twitter as a physician. In addition, you can blog entirely on Twitter - no blog needed... :)

R. W. Donnell said...

Good point about the comments and feedback. As I said I haven't ruled it out.