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Crowdsourcing in medicine via Twitter

I’ve been building a medical community on Twitter for years and now I have about 6000 followers including doctors, medical students, patients, medical librarians, scientists, etc. Whenever I have a question about my profession, PhD, or social media, generally I receive a valid and relevant answer in minutes. I don’t always know who might have the answer for my questions, that’s why it can be beneficial to put that into a large pot full of people with similar interests and wait for the answer. There is always someone with an answer or there is always someone in the communities of my community who might have the final solution.

That’s why I use Twitter for everyday communication, even though my main platform is my still blog.

It’s an honor to be included in the world’s top 10 medical Twitter users’ list. Last year, I was selected by The Independent and later my Twitter story was mentioned in the New York Times. Although, I publish the core content of my activities on my blog instead of Twitter, but now that is the place to track interesting medical stories. According to Peer Index, I’m the 6th in a list of 1000 medical Twitterers.

My experience after building this community for years is that with enough time and efforts, you can build a network capable of proper crowdsourcing even in medicine, but for a long time, you have to work “blindly” without seeing the actual and probable benefits. These days, I use Twitter for many reasons:

  • to ask clinical questions
  • to look for medical papers
  • to find new contacts
  • to receive speaker invitations
  • to get feedback about my projects
  • to look for collaborators
  • to find content for my presentations, etc.

So to sum it up, crowdsourcing can be wonderful, but requires a lot of work and energy in advance. Although, after that, it turns out it is really worth it…

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for writing…I treat twitter like a big journal club and like you said…get answers to questions…I see the most interesting things…many days before mentioned [if is] on MSM.

    April 16, 2011
  2. For a student twitter is a great opportunity to follow experts, professors and doctors that are willing to share their knowledge and insights. Unfortunately I find it difficult to receive replies when I ask questions, I receive feedback only when I point useful productivity resources.
    So I think that maybe forums are still the best place for a detailed discussions.

    @CM Dorand: I am still looking for an online medical journal club: journalfire.com for example is a great idea but hasen’t a critical mass (yet?).

    May 7, 2011

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