Matthew Holt

Why You Ought To Be On Twitter

Today we’re introducing a new feature on THCB.  Every two weeks I’ll be broadcasting a brief segment with the folks at ReachMD, the radio station for doctors that broadcasts on XM satellite radio.  If you like, you can have a listen to the inaugural broadcast here. (You’ll need to sign up first, but the process is quick and painless.) You’ll also probably want to take a minute to contribute to the quick web-based poll tied to the broadcast. Today’s, which can be found at the foot of this post, asks how healthcare professionals are using Twitter.

More than 100 million people now have a Twitter account and millions of Tweets are sent daily. The Library of Congress is archiving every tweet ever sent!

If you need catching up, Twitter is a service that lets you send very short messages called “tweets”. Anyone can “follow” your tweets, that is subscribe to your messages, and you can subscribe to anyone else’s Tweets.

Some hospitals have already started tweeting, including a few sending minute by minute updates from the OR. That may generate publicity, but it’s not the most worthwhile use of Twitter.

But what’s the use of tweeting? Should you be doing it?

The magic of Twitter is that it extends your reach. There are two ways to use Twitter – one is inbound. One of the things you can tweet is a web link. Almost all journals, media companies, and medical leaders tweet links to their articles and opinions. And other people and organizations you’re following are also tweeting articles and opinions from people and organizations they’re following. …. Now you’re seeing what a whole community of experts is looking at —with virtually no effort.

The other way to use twitter is outbound. You can set up an account for your practice and advertise it to your patients. You can send them updates about your services, links to interesting articles, and alerts about things like flu shots or drug recalls. It’s a quick, easy, free — and will be an increasingly important way of maintaining patient relationships.

So, are you already using Twitter? Participate in the ReachMD Poll and see how your Twitter habits compare to your colleagues’. I’m Matthew Holt, thanks for listening.

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