I've been participating in multiple live conversations on Twitter that have been very rewarding. These tweetups, or tweetchats, offer an opportunity to share information, network, and enhance advocacy for improving healthcare. But do we need to give people some caveats about sharing?
In the setting of discussions like #hcsm or #meded, where it's general conversation but not specific diseases, not necessarily. However, when it comes to attracting people with a certain health condition it may be different. Tweetchats can be very engaging, and keeping up with the conversation means it's easy for someone to accidentally share more about himself or herself than intended while caught up in the flow of conversation. Sharing health information isn't necessarily a problem but an otherwise cautious, private person may forget that Twitter is a public forum.
The other main issue is that community is a double-edged sword. It's fantastic at reducing isolation and allows people to find others with similar concerns and passions. However, it also means that it may amplify some negative aspects of healthcare experience or disease experience that otherwise wouldn't be as bothersome. Doctors may find themselves more dissatisfied from gravitating toward other frustrated clinicians online than they would if they only interacted with immediate colleagues. Cancer patients may go through more grieving and stress because they've magnified their exposure to people with a potentially life-threatening condition exponentially.
I've been involved in helping develop a new tweetchat #gyncsm for discussions around gynecologic cancer. For that chat I developed a disclaimer to share with each tweetup which is now posted by one of the founding members.
What do you think? Is this a good idea or not?
Posted by Matthew Katz, MD
Good thoughts. I like the idea of having reminders to encourage people to stop and think about what they are posting online. We do something like this on our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog, too. http://sharing.mayoclinic.org/guidelines/Reply by Lee Aase
I have been moderating #kidneychat since March. Many of the people who participate sign up for Twitter SOLELY for this chat, so I need to keep it as simple as possible. Even though I've been on there for over five years, some of these people are brand new.
I guess it all depends on the target audience. I just want to create a circle of kidney donors, recipients, and those looking for kidneys.
Thanks for sharing Amy. It could be simple as one opening tweet that links to a more involved explanation. My thinking was just that transparency is important. Another issues discussed on twitter was conflicts of interest, which might be relevant to those considering donating kidneys, or receiving them.Reply by Matthew Katz, MD