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.
Recently, Ves Dimov at Clinical Cases and Images has come up with a great post on How to deal with the information overload from blogs, RSS and Twitter so I thought I would share my thoughts with you about time-management lifehacks.
The main concept is to centralize the flow of information into one or two sites. For me, these are GMail and Google Reader. It means I can control anything I’m interested in by visiting these places online.
How to keep up with Twitter?
I follow more than 1000 users and have more than 1500 followers, so I receive thousands of tweets every day. Here are a few things that save me time and effort.
- I use Tweetdeck and created several groups on Tweetdeck that let me filter useful information (e.g. Health 2.0, genetics, bloggers groups, etc.).
- I check Friendfeed Best of the day because it will filter the best discussions for me (though not all of my Twitter contacts are on Friendfeed).
- Microplaza automatically filters the most interesting discussions and links mentioned in my Twitter community. I get the updates through RSS so it’s quite easy to see what I miss when I’m not online.
How to follow the content you want to track?
- Google Alerts helps me track the content that is published about me, my blog or my service online.
- Twilerts and Tweetbeep do the same but via Twitter. Whenever a Twitterer mentions my name, blogs, favourite search terms, I will be notified via e-mail.
How to write posts fast on your blog?
I often use the Quickpress function on WordPress that lets me write a post from the admin dashboard in just seconds. I always have a huge backlog on Scienceroll so I created clearly defined directories in Firefox bookmarks and tag all the links I save there. It helps me organize the thousands of bookmarks I have and I always get a clear picture of what I should write about.
As I’m working on different computers, Foxmarks synchronizes my bookmarks automatically.
How to work on Wikipedia?
As an administrator, I have some duties, so I built a long watchlist to keep track of the changes in the entries I’m interested in. I also use Huggle to fight vandalism. With Huggle, reverting hundreds of vandalisms and notify vandals on their talk pages take only minutes and a few clicks.
How to use RSS?
I created categories based on priorities in Google Reader. I always know which category of feeds to check depending on how much time I have and whether I’m looking for blog topics or just interesting pieces of information.
I also receive the updates of my favourite Youtube channels, Pubmed search terms and Del.icio.us tags.
And you may also find the slideshow from Joshua Schwimmer interesting
If you have more tips on how to be productive online, please let me know.