Twitter is the microblogging and networking platform where anyone can post (“tweet”) content or links to other content using only 140 characters. Topics can be labeled by putting a hash tag (“#”) in front of a single (such as #cancer) or compound word (such as #informationliteracy). If you search for a given topic, the results are like a snapshot of what Twitter users are thinking and writing on that subject. Searches can be saved, and with Twitter’s application programming interface (API), search information can be pulled and analyzed.
Here are a few examples of what’s being discussed (tweeted about) on health literacy (#healthliteracy) on Twitter:
- The non-profit organization Health Literacy Missouri (@HealthLitMO) just published a paper titled “Health Literacy Essential to Successful Implementation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)” bySusan Kendig, JD, MSN and Arthur Culbert, PhD. The paper points out that our current health system’s incentives for health care organizations “rewards volume and intensity of services, resulting in fragmentation and higher costs with little attention to value.” It goes on to document how health literacy is directly related to health outcomes.
- @apdolan has sought the thoughts and input of others on how the new Google+ might be used for health activism for an upcoming blog posting.
- @alixefloyd cheered and linked to an article in the NY Times about how more medical schools are screening their applicants for people skills.
- @ACUnderserved publicized information about a “Health Literacy Innovators Award Contest” sponsored by Health Literacy Innovations, a privately held company that “creates tools to help eliminate medical mistakes and confusion due to low health literacy.”
At first, even this author was skeptical of Twitter. But when one can sample what is of current interest on any given topic instantly, it becomes clear the value this platform has.
What topics do you follow on Twitter? If you have used it for research or to take the pulse of people on a particular subject, how helpful have you found it to be? Tell us!