How often do I hear comments being made about Twitter including the 'it is for socialising with celebrities' statement. If this was truly the case this blog would not need to be written nor posted! If you know all about Twitter you do nor need to read on, for everyone else here are some facts plus tips.
The use of social media in health care is now very much on the increase as outlined in a recent posting on the popular medical blog KevinMD . So hoping that you can continue to ignore this major trend, is probably no longer useful.
Twitter has become a conduit for relaying information rapidly around the world and is increasingly being used not only by individuals but a number of organisations. Here are some of examples of organisations who all use Twitter- governmental Food and Drug Administration , VicHealth , United Kingdom National Health Service , international organisations World Health Organisation , OECD , professional entities Kings Fund , American College of Surgeon, universities Harvard University , Imperial College , hospitals Mayo Clinic , Kings College Hospital , and medical journals New England Journal of Medicine , Lancet. Also in the public health arena Twitter has been used for 'tweeting' out information on policy Centres for Disease Control , APHA , new developments Johns Hopkins Public Health and evolving health issues CDC Social Media
So what use is this information for you? Well by joining onto Twitter you can elect to follow some of the organisations or entities that relay practical, useful information that you already know about. Look out for the Twitter symbol which is usually a small blue bird icon or a small blue 't' on their web sites and by clicking on that logo, you can then become a follower. Then by checking on your own home page on Twitter you can view all of the tweets of everyone you follow. The information contained in these tweets plus their accompanying links onto web pages may be useful for ongoing learning activities and adding to your knowledge base.
By trial and error you can also find other organisations you may wish to follow by entering relevant words into the Twitter search tool bar. If you find yourself following someone or something that is not particularly useful you can always unfollow! Guides on how to use Twitter are available on the Internet and the Mashable guide is one of the more popular currently.
How about actually 'tweeting'? Remember what you tweet is immediately in the public global Internet sphere, so anyone can potentially see it. Think before you write and even more importantly before you click on send! One unfortunate tweet can have major, major implications. There are guides available for the use of social media in the health sector. Examples include from the Australian Medical Association , and the British Medical Association . Your employer may also have a social media policy which you need to be fully aware of.
So what now? You can try joining up onto Twitter and start following what interests you. Whether you wish to tweet is up to you and please remember there are rules. Information contained in this recent Cool Info graphic , and the Jeffbullas Blog very much confirm that the use of social media is on the increase. So even if you are currently not accessing Twitter, there is a very good chance that people you know are. Good luck!