I started using Twitter in 2007 and have been publishing thoughts, content and news about digital health since then almost on an hourly basis. I don’t care about numbers but when you reach a milestone, it keeps you thinking about what you have learnt on the way. Here are the 5 things I learnt while building a network of over 50,000 followers.
1) The slower, the better.
I could have followed tens of thousands of people irrelevant to my topics and gain a few more followers myself. But using Twitter has always meant being in the bloodstream of information and for this I chose to take it slow. It took me over 8 years to build my network and I’m glad I chose the wise way. I know many of those people in person or we have been in contact for years. It builds trust and leads to professional relationships.
2) There are no limits
I travel around the world almost constantly, but I’m based in Budapest. What I learnt is there are no physical or geographical limitations when millions of people are connected to each other. My network is mostly US-based but I can talk to any medical professional, patient or innovator who has something to say about forming the future of medicine.
3) We solve problems together
A lot of issues related to healthcare pop up in the stream of Twitter every day and we try to get the best people to think about the possible solutions. Through Twitter, I managed to crowdsource a complicated diagnosis, I get answers for very specific questions and make new contacts around the world.
4) People respond more easily
I talk with people by e-mail, Skype, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and many more channels. In my experience, people tend to respond faster when approached on Twitter as they know the character limitation only lets them transmit the key part of the information without the garnish.
5) I get news on Twitter
Twitter is the best filter I have today to get the key news and announcements about digital health. Companies get in contact with me to test their products and wearable health trackers. Twitter sends me those tweets that received the biggest attention that day. If I still miss something, someone will send it to me personally.
Because of my Twitter network, I live in a limitless world full of opportunities and information.
Let’s tweet in touch!
It’s always a pleasure to be included in such lists as I get to know others working in the field of digital health. Here is the full list and an excerpt:
Twitter can be the ideal platform for a physician to offer meaningful, relevant information to patients and colleagues. Getting started is the hardest part, but looking to others who have succeeded on Twitter can be a good way to draw inspiration. These 20 doctors are burning up their Twitter feeds and attracting massive followings—each in their unique way.
MDigitalLife released a report about the most important trend in physician communications. Read their statement and download the report here.
They also shared an interesting insight about my Twitter statistics.
My mission is to bring digital knowledge to medical students therefore preparing them for the world full of digital technologies that is coming. This is why I launched the world’s first university course focusing on social media and mobile health for medical students in 2008. Here are a few ways how I try to teach them:
- There is a real credit course at Semmelweis Medical School where I have courses in English and in Hungarian. I try to teach them digital literacy through spectacular and engaging presentations.
- They can answer questions about the topics covered in the lectures on Facebook to gather bonus points for the exam.
- There is an e-learning platform so then any medical student or professional worldwide can access the materials and take the tests for the certification.
- Students get credits for creating medical blogs, Twitter profiles or Wikipedia entries.
As you can see, following the “If you want to teach me, you first have to reach me” approach, I do everything I can to get the message across: every medical professional will be affected by online medical communication.
The Social MEDia Course
This is why I was very glad when Symplur contacted me about a potential collaboration. Let’s create a new hashtag #HCSMcourse referring to the widely used healthcare social media (#HCSM) hashtag. This new hashtag would focus on two goals:
- To collect all materials, concepts and ideas about teaching social media in medical education.
- To give students a chance to belong to a global community even after graduating from medical school.
As Twitter is my main communication channel these days, I cannot wait to exploit this idea in even more details.