I Learn a Lot. Really.

Originally posted at the THL Blog http://wp.me/p1v84h-yP

Another librarian asked me Tuesday, “Is Twitter that good? or worthwhile?”

The question always comes down to “Who else is there?” and “How much do they matter to me?”

Symplur Healthcare Hashtag Project

Last week saw the first ever weekly Twitter chat for medical librarians. Tuesday night as I write this, the #medlibs hashtag is ranked fourth among trending Twitter chats. In the first inaugural #medlibs chat, there were almost 446 individual tweets from 30 participants. If you include the potential audience of those who follow those participants, the tweets and concept of #medlibs reached 771,911 persons.

At the exact same time was the United States edition (there is a separate UK/EU edition) of the regularly scheduled weekly Twitter chat on Medical Education. That one has been going on since Thursday June 2, 2011, just over a year now. Their topic of the week focused on the role of mentorship in medical education and best practices for mentor/mentee relationships. That conversation engaged 36 participants with 245 tweets during the hour.

For myself, my main Twitter chat is the Healthcare Social Media event on Sunday evenings, otherwise known as #HCSM (pronounced hic-sum). I rarely if ever miss one of these, and have arranged my schedule around it. Last week was a relatively quiet chat for #HCSM, with 91 participants sending 763 tweets that reached a potential audience of 1,864,355. Last week their topics were the potential for social media in continuing medical education; trends in academic and scholarly publishing; and whether engagement in social media aids or abets burnout.

Symplur Healthcare Hashtag Project

Overall, according to the most recent counts, there are 1,243 registered healthcare hashtags used by hundreds to engage and/or communicate healthcare concepts with an audience of over 83 million. I’ve mentioned Twitter chats, but hashtags are also used for professional meetings and conferences, public health initiatives and general conversations, as well as discussions for specific patient and patient care communities and specific diseases.

So, what did I tell my colleague? This:

Here is an index of the healthcare related hashtags used on Twitter to organize conversation around topics.

Symplur: Healthcare Hashtags: http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/

They also have a calendar of regularly scheduled Twitter chats on topics. The Medical Librarians chat is on Thursdays at 9pm Eastern Time.

I learn an enormous amount there. Really.


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