Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

The Four Modes of Twitter – Part II

Last week, I wrote Part I of The Four Modes of Twitter. As I mentioned in that post, there are several ways, or modes, through which to extract value from Twitter: Focused, Filtered, Serendipitous and Random.

I figured it would be better to expand on Part I on video because I think the ideas won’t come together in a text format. (I’m a one-take monkey – fyi.) If you can’t see the embed below, you can view it here.


Why look at it this way?

Well, there are still many nurses, doctors, researchers and others who haven’t yet peered sufficiently enough into emerging media to make informed decisions about their relevance and use. And since Twitter is in its own category of communications and media, seeing its various value propositions can be elusive.

Those of us who believe that there are smart ways to use odd technologies like Twitter need to appreciate how dopey they can appear to others who don’t have any experience with them. We need to explain the value points of them.

Of all emerging media, Twitter seems to be the one that most perplexes the uninitiated the most. If you’re in healthcare, you can’t be willfully ignorant of the technological changes transpiring around you.

Furthermore, these media are often re-purposeful – and we need to understand what we’re dealing with so that we can make intelligent decisions about their possible roles. Only after understanding and experiencing these media can acceptance or rejection be at all intelligent.

That’s one of the reasons I started RNchat and #MDchat.

There are many nurses and physicians who have come to appreciate the different value propositions of different media, and often it’s been these kinds of Twitter chats that have helped ‘noobs’ come up to speed with today’s media.

There are also many who don’t – or who haven’t full realized what can be done with them.  For instance, Twitter chats still perplex – hopefully, these four modes that I’ve offered will lend some insight.

I don’t know about you, but I want life scientists and researchers and doctors and nurses and other heroes of our world to get their feet wet with today’s media. Why? Because in the 21st Century, not to be Web literate amounts to traditional illiteracy. Simple as that.

We need to panoramic in our approach to what we do.

Focus, filtering, serendipity and randomness are inherent properties of life. They’re also reflected into today’s emerging media.

You can spend all your time focusing on nothing but your corner of the universe at the expense of missing the larger parties around you.

On the other extreme, you can spend all your time randomly tweeting and Facebooking and surfing the Web at the expense of never accomplishing anything.

Or you can learn to allocate your time wisely, and maximize the effect of appreciating the properties of focused, filtered, serendipitous and random processes.

There are hundreds of ways to use these kinds of media in healthcare.

The human imagination is the most powerful API in the world. What a shame to waste it on willful ignorance or prejudiced dismissal.

If you look closely at the histories of innovation and discovery in medicine or other sciences and arts, you’ll find streaks of all four kinds of processes. We’d never have advanced the best of our healthcare that arises out of discovery if it weren’t for these four modes.

Twitter is a crazy metaphor. And the metaphor is life.

@PhilBaumann –      @HealthIsSocial

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  • I didn’t mention here:

    We haven’t even seen machines tweet nearly as extensively as they will over time.

    More on that later.

  • Contempt prior to investigation is a big problem, compounded with fear over social-media firings. I mentioned Twitter at work last week, and the first response was, “I don’t care to read ‘I’m eating lunch now, I’m going to the bathroom now.'” People just aren’t interested in taking the time to investigate.

    • Phil Baumann

      That’s one of the most common kinds of feedback.

      To an extent, I can appreciate their perspective – especially if they just aren’t aware of what’s going on online. But when it’s a matter of just willful ignorance, I’m stunned.

      Then again, when movies first came out many people didn’t see the point of “watching someone walk down the street”.

      Same kinda thing going on.

      Phil