Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I'm thinking about Twitter but....

This is a follow-up to my recent presentation at #asme2012 where I tried to convince anyone who was at the conference, and therefore interested in medical education, that they had something to gain from Twitter. These were my 10  reasons, more fully explained here. At the end I asked, "What is stopping you?". Here are some of the queries, and I'll add others as they arise and hopefully you can contribute some questions and answers too.

I'm already swamped by email, etc etc - how would I manage Twitter?

Email swamps us because it is hard to discern the messages that we do need to reply to from the junk that we shouldn't have received in the first place. But Twitter is an opt-in service. If you feel swamped by getting a newspaper at the weekend then perhaps this is not for you. You will choose who to follow and how often you want to check if something interesting is waiting there for you to discover, or respond to. But if you don't have time then you can ignore it. No one will be annoyed or upset. If someone really wants to get your attention they probably have other ways of contacting you than by a tweet (the dreaded email!) but you will very likely be surprised by how liberating you find 140 characters. Brevity is your friend!

And if like me you want to explore Twitter for your professional development then you can make some choices. What do you currently do for CPD? Why don't you swap 10% of that time to Twitter and see what return you get on your time investment? (I can make that challenge quite confidently!)

Should I have a personal and a professional account?

I have one account. It makes life easy. I don't feel that I share very much of my personal life but you probably will get a very good sense of what I will be like if you meet me at a conference from my tweets. You won't know how I interact with my family but I don't imagine you are very interested in that. Despite leading quite a public life I like my privacy. I feel that I have reached a happy balance.

Is it a problem that tweets are archived?

This question surprised me a little. If my tweets are professional then it is good that they are archived surely? Often the first thing I do when I attend a conference is check if the tweets are archived and if not then set up an archive. Or I try to curate tweets into stories myself using tools like storify. So archiving is not the enemy, it is our friend. I think the questioner was concerned that I was through my limited personal tweets I was exposing personal data. But this happens every time I use my mobile phone, my Visa card, and with CCTV cameras in the UK, often just walking down the street. We are all trading privacy for convenience to a certain extent. Again I am happy with my current balance?

I hope to do another follow-up post about how to get the most out of Twitter, but in the meantime, what are the questions that people raise when you talk to them about social media?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. I think that the idea of social/professional boundaries makes many people nervous when the world of Twitter and Education intersect. Certainly, the idea of educators using Twitter may initially seem odd, but the way that connectivity and social media are growing, I think we will look back in ten years and find it somewhat hard to remember how we reached students prior to these outlets. (For a lighter take on the internet and medical education, check out our satire post "On-Line Medical School Opens Its Servers for Future e-MD’S."
    -the Daily Medical Examiner


I am reintroducing word verification to cut back on spam posts. I'm sorry if you find it frustrating,