Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Twitter is a vastly rich medium that's worth your time.

It's 10 minutes, and it's all been said before, but I hope this video is worth your time.

Summarized below are three reasons (among many more) to give Twitter a shot.

1. Taking
You don't have to give in order to receive. By following people without ever delivering a keystroke, you can quickly consume information that is relevant to your interests. Like surgery? Follow Atul Gawnde (@Atul_Gawande). Curious about the latest in neurology? Check out @NeurologyNow. Interested in healthcare policy? Follow @GarySchwitzer. Thirst for everything? @KevinMD and @KentBottles.

2. Giving
If you want to create content, there are gradations of involvement. You can innocuously resend what you thought was interesting (called retweeting), or post websites that interest you, along with short descriptors. More boldly, you can share experiences, make statements and judgements, or use Twitter to broadcast your own creations (warning- you might find yourself creating a blog and posting videos about how awesome you think it all is). See how medical student Allison Greco unifies blog and Twitter at md2bGrecoa3.com and on Twitter as @GrecoA3, or gastroenterologist Bryan Vartabedian at 33charts.com, @Doctor_V.

3. Networking
While conventional circumstances narrow who we get to know in this world, Twitter offers a great way to connect with people we don't know but who otherwise share our interests, our quirky insights, idiosyncratic hangups, or outrageous perspective. If nothing else, consider establishing a Twitter account before attending your next conference, whereby you'll more easily meet attendees with your motivation. And, it's not just for connecting with those across the country, but also for meeting local people and maintaining relationships you've already started. I know @Peds_ID_doc pretty well, and gain much clinical insight, considering I'm rarely physically in his presence on the floors.

Caution: Don't say anything that would would bother you were it printed in the newspaper. Envision each tweet on a billboard outside your hospital. In the digital world, it's hard to know where the walls are that enclose your statements, and depending on your personality, it's easy to lose yourself, or to outright forget yourself, and say something boneheaded (or worse).

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