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Tips and Tricks: Is Twitter reliable?

Last week, when I talked about the tools of e-patients during my Medicine 2.0 university credit course, I mentioned a few microblogging tools such as Twitter of Friendfeed. Patients and medical professionals can ask questions and get answers really fast, that’s why we use these services.

But a student had a good question: how can we make sure the responder is a real medical professional or patient?

Very hard question and I don’t think there is a perfect answer for that but I will try to show you some methods with which you can check Twitterers reliability.

It measures the relative power of a Twitter user. It is calculated as a percentile score. A grade of 98.9 means that the user scores higher than 98.9 percent of the other user profiles that have been graded. It is calculated by:

The number of followers you have
The power of this network of followers
The pace of your updates
The completeness of your profile

twitter-grader

twInfluence is a simple tool using the Twitter API to to measure the combined influence of twitterers and their followers, with a few social network statistics thrown in as bonus. More about the rankings and the code.

twinfluence

  • Check whether the Twitterer is listed in the database of twitting professionals. Here is JustTweetIt for this purpose.

  • Don’t forget to check the profile of the Twitterer, their website, real name, etc.

You have to know who you twit with and if you want to improve your twitting habits, read this list: 20 Twitter Tips to Make You a Better Twitter User

And feel free to join me on Twitter

Further reading:

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. just wanted to say thank you for linking to my post, glad you found it valuable and decided to share it with your readers!

    Jacob

    November 7, 2008
  2. Jacob, it was my pleasure. Your post is a uniquely useful one.

    November 8, 2008
  3. Berci, these are all very nice tools (gadgets), but I don’t think they answer the question: “how can we make sure the responder is a real medical professional or patient?”
    The first tools are more about your twitter ranking and they tell me less than a simple “eye ball test” (term invented by my boss to tell at a glance whether a metanalysis is heterogeneous or not, instead of using a complicated formula).
    When I decide who to follow I just look at his/her profile. Here you see directly:
    (1) the number and ratio of followers /following. If the ratio is << it might be a spam twitter. Also look at who follows, the more familiar faces, the more chance it is o.k.
    (2) his/her tweets. The date of the last tweet, the frequency and especially the CONTENT does tell you a lot.
    (3) the link to his/her website (if any). Is this good info?

    You ‘re never sure, but using your common sense helps.

    November 8, 2008
  4. Berci,

    To me, a killer app would be the ability to easily find the right people to follow on Twitter based on your interests/needs.

    While there are a few services offering recommendations, none of them are terribly effective. If someone could come up with a great recommendation service, it would be pure gold.

    Mark

    November 8, 2008
  5. [...] 4. Make sure the people you follow are really valubale twitterers [...]

    July 19, 2011

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