Yesterday, I passed the 10,000 follower milestone on Twitter. A follower asked me to share the reasons why I use Twitter and the also the ways how I use it. I would say there are 5 major reasons why I’ve been using it for long years.
- Crowdsourcing: Usually I have very specific and complicated questions either about a clinical problem or about social media. What do you do when you have such a question, but do not know who might have the answer? You spend time and efforts building a network and, build trust with the members of this network and then when you have a question, drop it into the network. My experience is that generally in a few minutes, I get my answer. That is how I use Twitter for crowdsourcing and how I used it once for crowdsourcing a diagnosis that generated an Al Jazeera interview and a New York Times report.
- Let the community filter news for me: That is another reason why I have been building this network for years. When I check my Twitter stream and also a few hashtags such as #hcsm #meded or #hitsm, I know I will come across that day’s most important news probably relevant and interesting for me. I don’t have to scroll over all my favourite sites, just check the Twitter stream.
- Share news: I myself post quite often about the news and articles related to social media and medicine. I help the community in this filtering process and try to find the best pieces of information for them. Otherwise, how could I expect them to do the same for me?
- Get in touch: Getting in touch with people from around the world takes time when you have many contacts and friends. Moreover, I believe the easiest way nowadays to contact conference organizers or editors of medical journals and companies is Twitter, this is a fast, but still very personal channel.
- Get feedback: I work on many projects so I need feedback. And as I know I have people in my network from a lot of areas with expertise and broad perspectives, I love getting feedback from them and fortunately I do get a lot.
There are certainly many other reasons why I use it, but these seem to be the most essential ones.