Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

In Tweets We Trust: Determining The Credibility Of Health Related Tweets

A 2012 paper by researchers from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University, “Tweeting Is Believing? Understanding Microblog Credibility Perceptions,”  analyzing how users assess a tweet’s credibility has implications for healthcare researchers, physicians. practitioners and patient advocates on Twitter.

The researchers conducted primary data collection on a variety of Twitter users and also designed experiments using mock tweets to assess the drivers of assessment of credibility. They then ranked which factors lend the most credibility to a tweet, as well as which ones make them less credible.

Some of the key findings regarding users’ perceptions of tweet credibility include:

  • users are poor judges of truthfulness based on content alone and instead, are influenced by heuristics such as user name when making credibility assessments.
  • users represented by the default Twitter icon are perceived as significantly less credible than users with any other type of icon image.
  • a retweet by someone they trust is the biggest factor in increasing credibility

Of the 31 factors determining credibility investigated in the study, the following lists the top 10 factors  (1-5 rating of how much credibility the factor creates, 5 being the highest.)

  1. A retweet from someone you trust (4.08)
  2. Author has verifiable expertise in the subject (4.04)
  3. Author is someone you follow (4.00)
  4. It contains a link to a source (3.93)
  5. Account has a verification seal (3.92)
  6. Author tweets often on the topic (3.74)
  7. There are many other tweets with similar content (3.71)
  8. Author has a personal photo as the user image (3.70)
  9. Author is often mentioned or retweeted (3.69)
  10. Author is geographically near the topic (3.67)

The researchers also analyzed the least credible tweets and found the following factors influenced user perception:

  • Non-standard grammar or punctuation such as abbreviations commonly used in text messaging
  • Author has the default Twitter user image
  • Author has a cartoon or avatar as user image
  • Author is following too many users

What can we learn from this study?

“As users increasingly access tweets through search, they have less information on which to base credibility judgments as compared to consuming content from direct social network connections….In the absence of the ability to distinguish truthfulness from the content alone, people must use other cues.”

Factors perceived as most enhancing a tweet’s credibility generally concerned the author of the tweet. These included author influence (as measured by follower, retweet, and mention counts,  topical expertise (as established through a Twitter homepage bio, history of on topic tweeting, pages outside of Twitter, or having a location relevant to the topic of the tweet), and reputation (whether an author is someone a user follows, has heard of, or who has an official Twitter account verification seal).

Content related features viewed as credibility enhancing were containing a URL leading to a high-quality site, and the existence of other tweets conveying similar information.

Aligning your Twitter profile to these cues will lend more credibility to your tweets.

  • always include a Twitter homepage bio
  • use your real name or one that is closely aligned to the main topic of tweeting
  • use a recognizable icon or a personal image – avoid the default Twitter icon
  • build a large follower base
  • keep tweets focused on a single topic or related topics
  • add a verification seal (Twitter doesn’t accept requests for verification from the general public, but it will verify accounts emanating from universities, research institutions, etc)
  • provide a URL to research, study or high-quality information.
  • despite the 140 character space challenges of Twitter, always use standard grammar and spelling
  • users tweeting on geographically specific events should update their bio to accurately identify the location

Related Reading: What To Post on Twitter: A Cheat Sheet For Healthcare Tweeters

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

The 5 Stages of Twitter Adoption

It’s no secret that I’m still crazy in love with Twitter even after spending close to a decade on the platform.

I’ve met so many incredible people on Twitter – some of whom have become friends in real life.

I’ve been invited to speak at conferences around the globe.

I’ve never been so strategically connected.

And all because of Twitter.

And yet I still meet people who tell me they just don’t get Twitter.  They say it’s just a place to post what you ate for breakfast, or lunch, or.. well you get the picture.

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But here’s the thing about Twitter that not everyone realizes, you build your own experience to suit your interests and needs.

Twitter is the frame, not the picture, what’s inside is largely up to you.

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I can hardly remember back to the first tweet I sent, but I do remember that there were several stages in my evolution to becoming a Twitter devotee.

And it turns out most people who first join Twitter go through some, if not all, of these stages.

So here’s a fun infographic I created outlining the five most common stages of Twitter adoption.

5 Stages of A Twitter User (4)

 

I’d love to hear from you. Are you a Twitter user? Where do you fall on this adoption curve?

 

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

How Does A Health Care Twitter Chat Work? #Twitter101

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If you are looking to connect with more people in your industry on a wider scale, joining a Twitter chat is the perfect place to start.

It’s no secret that I love Twitter. In fact, I am quite the Twitterholic when it comes to using it.  I joined it nine years ago – that’s eons ago in social media years, which as we all know we measure in dog years.

Since then I have watched disheartened as Twitter has become a far less friendly, far noisier place. That said, there are still incredible ways to use Twitter to learn and to connect with other like-minded people.

One of those ways is a Twitter chat.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a great networking and learning tool, and a super way to engage in meaningful conversations about shared topics of interest. Think of it as a virtual meet-up for people with common interests.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Twitter chats, they are a public chat, moderated by a host that happens live on Twitter. To filter all the conversations a specific hashtag is used. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it.  Most Twitter chats are recurring and focus on specific topics introduced by a moderator.  The chats usually last one hour and a transcript of tweets is often made available after the chat has ended.

Twitter chats can be fun and lively, and they’re a great place to learn and network. They are also a super place to meet new people. When you attend a Twitter chat regularly, people will get to know you and in this way, you can develop your network and grow your followers

What Is The Impact Of Twitter Chats On Healthcare?

For patients who participate in health-related Twitter chats, there is tremendous potential to motivate participants and encourage change. Much of this change comes from peer-to-peer support which has been shown to be highly effective in motivating change. Many participants share conversational and informational knowledge that they believe is valuable both to themselves and others.

The trailblazer in this area is the Breast Cancer Social Media chat (#BCSM). The first #BCSM chat took place in 2011. Moderated by two breast cancer patients, Alicia Staley and Jody Schoger, the goal was to provide credible, evidence-based information and support for anyone affected by breast cancer.

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Alicia and Jody were soon joined by breast surgeon, Dr. Deanna Attai who saw immense value in taking part in these conversations. From this inside peek into the world of patients, Dr. Attai surmised that while doctors were providing information, patients, overwhelmed by their diagnosis,  were not necessarily hearing it.

In 2015, BCSM published a study which demonstrated that breast cancer patients’ perceived knowledge increases and their anxiety decreases by participation in Twitter chats like #BCSM. In a separate paper published in 2016, the use of social media was linked to more patient confidence in cancer treatment choices.

Dr. Matthew Katz, a radiation oncologist based in the US, agrees that Twitter chats provide valuable insight into patient concerns and credits them with making him a better listener.

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I love what Elin Silveous says about Twitter chats being the best of social media. It’s about all healthcare stakeholders coming together to learn from and with each other.

Where To Find Healthcare Twitter Chats

Symplur is doing an impressive job of compiling all of the healthcare hashtags and providing chat transcripts in The Healthcare Hashtag Project. The goal of the project is to make the use of healthcare social media and Twitter more accessible for the healthcare community as a whole (a full list and a tweet chat calendar of meeting times can be found on the Symplur website).

How To Take Part In A Twitter Chat

1. Find a chat you’d like to join using Symplur or another tool like Twubs.

2. When it’s time to join the chat, you can join in straight from your Twitter account. Simply search for the relevant hashtag at the designated time.

Pro Tip! TweetChat is a great tool to use to make participation easier. Simply log in with your Twitter handle, enter the hashtag of the event, and TweetChat will pull up all the related messages so you can follow the conversation. If you plan to tweet a lot during the chat, it’s good etiquette to send out a brief message to your followers letting them know that you are attending a Twitter chat.

3. Take a breath and jump right into the chat with an introduction to who you are and where you’re tweeting from. ​The person hosting the chat will ask questions in order to spark conversation between you and the other participants.

Pro Tip! Twitter chats move fast, which is why using a third-party tool like TweetChat is so useful. Don’t worry if the pace is so fast that you feel you’re missing out on some of the tweets. The host will often provide a transcript after the chat so you to pick up on what you might have missed.

4. If you are new to Twitter chats, you might like to listen at first to get a better sense of how it works before you join in.  However, even if all you do is listen rather than participate, take a moment at the start to introduce yourself when the host asks for introductions. You can let participants know this is your first chat – you will often find that “newbies” receive a lot of encouragement from the group.

5. Remember to use the hashtag associated with the chat for all tweets and retweets during the chat. Again, this is where the TweetChat tool is useful because it will automatically add the hashtag to your tweets, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.

6. The host will introduce their questions with Q (for question) or T (for topic) followed by the number of the question, for example T1, T2, etc. When you want to respond to a question, use A (for answer) and the corresponding number, for example, A1, A2, etc.

7. A good tip is to find out in advance what the topic will be so you have time to prepare some tweets in advance. Whether it’s a question or comment relevant to the topic,  a link to some research you have seen, or an article you’ve written, being prepared in this way gives you more confidence to take part.

8. Follow Twitter etiquette. Let your Twitter followers know before the tweet chat that they’ll be seeing a lot of tweets from you for the next hour. You could even invite them to the tweet chat if you think they may be interested in the topic.

9. Enjoy! As I said at the start Twitter chats are super places to learn and find new people to connect with. If you haven’t yet tried a chat, then try one out this week and do let me know how you get on.

How do YOU get the most out of Twitter chats?

Any Twitter chats you’d recommend? What tips and tricks have you learned by participating in Twitter chats?


You might also like to read Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Hashtags in Healthcare…But Were Afraid To Ask!

 

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

What To Post on Twitter: A Cheat Sheet For Healthcare Tweeters

Have you recently joined Twitter and are wondering what you should tweet beyond “This is my first Tweet”? Or have you been on Twitter for a while now but are running out of things to post? 

If your tweeting needs a fresh injection of ideas, check out the following list of tweets you can adapt and post to your followers.

  1. Link to a new post on your blog – ok this is one of the most obvious tweets to send, but if you haven’t blogged in a while, why not see this as an opportunity to revisit your website and identify your most popular posts. Pull out a quote, or a statistic or turn your headline into a question before tweeting a fresh link to your chosen post.
  2. Share an inspiring or motivational quote – tag it with #MondayMotivation for more traction.
  3. Post a behind-the-scenes photo of your office.  People love to see behind the scenes stuff – so bring your camera to your next staff meeting, lunch or event. Sharing pictures of your employees (with their permission, of course) makes your practice so much more relatable. Furthermore, it helps to build a sense of camaraderie
  4. Participate in Follow Friday – #FollowFriday or #FF on Twitter is a tradition in which people send tweets recommending other Twitter users they think are interesting to follow. The tweets are sent on Fridays and contain the hashtag #ff or #FollowFriday.
  5. Use Hashtags strategically. Use hashtags to identify real-time opportunities for engagement in news and events, identify current trends and key influencers. Find trending hashtags with tools like TwitonomyHashtagify.me and RiteTag.
  6. Thank a new follower – thank someone by name when they follow you. People love to be acknowledged by name.
  7. Share a health care tip. Share a quick seasonal wellness or preventative care tip with your followers.
  8. Tweet a “Did you know?” or “True or False” style tweet. These kinds of tweets are popular for encouraging interactions among your followers.
  9. Conduct a poll. Ask your followers a question using Twitter’s Poll Feature. Use it to get a snapshot of readers’ attitudes on health topics like vaccination, screening, complementary therapy, mental health – the list is endless. Share the results in a follow-up tweet.
  10. Live tweet. Live tweeting is a great way to share valuable information at conferences and events.
  11. Post a “fill-in-the-blank” prompt. This is a fun way to engage your audience. Here’s an example:  Fill in the blank: ________________ always makes me smile.
  12. Tweet about cause awareness events. It could be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month or Healthy Weight Week. Join in using the relevant hashtag on Twitter.
  13. Post holiday-themed tweets (Christmas, Hanukah, 4th July, etc.) You could also join in fun holidays like National Donut Day. Check out this calendar to keep you right up to date with ideas.
  14. Share news and updates from your practice. Are you rolling out a new program, product or service? Let your followers know about it in a tweet. You can highlight when someone on your team achieves a new certification level or when you acquire a new piece of equipment that affords better care. Patients will appreciate you keeping them informed.
  15. Share your thoughts on an industry trend. Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. Can you predict or comment on the latest healthcare trend? Set up Google Alerts to keep updated on emerging trends in your industry to provide the latest information for your readers.
  16. Create a Twitter Moment. Twitter gives you the ability to create “Moments,” which  allows you to curate a series, or gallery, of tweets revolving around a particular theme. Follow this step-by-step guide to create your first Twitter Moment.
  17. Engage with your patients around relevant conversations. Join a health-related Twitter chat – you’ll find a comprehensive list at Symplur.com.

So there you have it, some suggestions for things to post on Twitter when you have run out of ideas. Of course the most important thing about Twitter, indeed any social network, is that it’s just that.. social. Don’t just engage in one-way tweeting. Twitter is a two-way communication tool.  Make sure you are also taking the time to be sociable – like and respond to others tweets, retweet and comment often.

You might also like to read Stuck For What To Post On Twitter? This Might Be The Solution You’ve Been Looking For!


Want more tips like these? 

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Posted in Twitter

How To Analyze Your Twitter Followers

Who do you want to reach on Twitter? What are the best times to reach them?  You can find the answers to these questions and more by using a tool like Followerwonk –  a freemium Twitter audience analysis tool.

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Followerwonk segments followers into a number of psychographic segments: including gender, location, Twitter activity, and more.

Here’s how it works.

  • Visit Followerwonk and enter your brand or company’s Twitter handle.
  • Select the option to Analyze Their Followers

Below is an overview of the data tracked by Followerwonk, using my own Twitter account as an example.

1. Mapped Location of Followers

Using the location field in Twitter accounts, Followerwonk will approximate the geographic location of up to 5,000 users and map them for you.

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2. Most Active Hours of Followers

This chart breaks down the hourly Twitter activity of your followers and the data can help you determine the best time to tweet to reach them.

 

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3. Social Authority Score

Continue reading “How To Analyze Your Twitter Followers”

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

12 Ways To Search For Health-Related Content On Twitter

Twitter’s statistics are mind-blowing. According to Internet Live Stats, every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year! So, how do you keep up with all those tweets? Obviously it’s impossible to keep up, but you can handle the avalanche better through a combination of maintaining Twitter lists of the people you follow, health-related hashtags, etc., and using Twitter’s Advanced Search Engine.

While the easiest way to do a search on Twitter is to click the native search facility, you can do so much more with Twitter’s advanced search capabilities. It allows you to narrow down your search using parameters such as specific keywords, language, people, location, and date range. In today’s post, I will show you twelve ways you can use this powerful search engine to search for health-related content on Twitter.

1. Search for a phrase: for example “healthcare social media marketing strategy”.

2. Search for any of these words: for example “healthcare social media” or “healthcare marketing strategy”.

3. Exclude any word: for example “blog”.

4. Search for health related hashtags: for example #hcsm.

5. Search for any specific language.

6. Choose specific accounts to search within.

7. Or find tweets directed to a specified Twitter user or referencing a specific username.

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8. Search for tweets in a specific location or within a specified mile radius of a location.

9. Narrow down your tweets within a specific date range. This is useful if you want to catch up on tweets around a specific conference or event.

10. Discover sentiment around tweets – i.e. whether negative or positive.

11. Find health-related questions. This feature enables you to search for conversations happening locally that you might like to add your expertise to.

12. Choose to include re-tweets in your search. I usually exclude this search parameter, as I prefer to concentrate on original tweets; however it may be useful if you want to see how many times a tweet has been re-tweeted or who is re-tweeting specific tweets.

And here’s a snapshot of my final search results. As you can, I can zoom in on the most popular tweets, or those who are tweeting in real time. I cans also find photos and videos related to my search. I can even save this search, and embed it on my website.

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Considering its capabilities, it is surprising that Twitter’s advanced search engine is so underused. Try using it to create lists, curate content, and as a social media listening tool to find health-related conversations. Once you start, you are sure to find other ways to maximise this powerful search engine to advance your healthcare marketing.

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

Can A Hashtag Change Healthcare? The Impact of Healthcare Tweet Chats

tweet-follow1Can A Hashtag Change Healthcare?  

The first time I read this quote from Dana Lewis, moderator of #hcsm the premier tweet chat on healthcare, I was gripped by the notion of how Twitter and in particular tweet chats could influence the way we practise healthcare.

Social media is a radical shift in the way we communicate. The healthcare conversation is no longer a one-way narrative but is evolving into a global, participatory discussion. One of the most powerful ways I see this happening is in the modality of the tweet chat. The role Twitter plays in breaking down patient/provider barriers, disseminating and expanding the reach of healthcare information, widening social networks and co-creating a collaborative model of shared health information is one of the most exciting developments in social media.

What Is A Tweet Chat?

For those who may be unfamiliar with the phenomenon of a tweet chat – it is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of updates called tweets. It includes a predefined #hashtag which links the tweets together in a virtual conversation. Most tweet chats follow a common format of a moderator who introduces pre-arranged topics relevant to the chat and keeps the conversation on track. The chats usually last one hour and a transcript of tweets is available after the chat has ended.

Symplur is doing an impressive job of compiling all of the healthcare hashtags and providing chat transcripts in The Healthcare Hashtag Project. The goal of the project is to make the use of healthcare social media and Twitter more accessible for the healthcare community as a whole (a full list and a tweet chat calendar of meeting times can be found on the Symplur website).

What Is The Impact Of Tweet Chats On Healthcare?

As a relatively new technological innovation, the use of Twitter as a modality for health communication is only now beginning to be explored with particular emphasis on the role Twitter may play in contributing to health based conversations directed at individual, community, and societal levels.

Many times, people’s choices in terms of Personal Health Practices (PHP) are context dependent and socially constructed. Healthcare tweet chats have tremendous potential to motivate participants and encourage change. Much of this change comes from peer-to-peer support which has been shown to be highly effective in motivating change. Many participants share conversational and informational knowledge that they believe is valuable both to themselves and others.

Tweet from participant in the #BCCEU (Breast Cancer Social Media Europe) tweet chat
Tweet from participant in the #BCCEU (Breast Cancer Social Media Europe) tweet chat

Studies show that individuals enrolled in meaningful social networks have protective properties in terms of overall health and wellbeing. Healthcare tweet chats provide participants with a sense of community and valuable opportunities for meaningful exchange and positive interactions.

The impact of digital technology in healthcare is leading to changing expectations by health consumers who, along with a desire to share information and connect with others, increasingly want to interact and engage with their healthcare providers. Twitter has also facilitated the emergence of  the “patient opinion leader” an individual who is seen as an expert in chronic conditions such as cancer.  Gunther Eysenbach refers to this group as “Apomediaries” – individuals that assist in the process of information searching but do not act as a gatekeeper.

So, what’s in it for healthcare practitioners?

Dr Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) of Baylor College notes of social media “the greatest value of this medium is the breakdown of barriers that have traditionally come between doctor and patient.” It is encouraging to see the increasing participation by doctors in many healthcare tweet chats, reaching out and sharing information, but also listening too.

Twitter offers opportunities for healthcare to reach out to patients in new and valuable ways.

These [social media] tools help us reach so many more people; we can bring shared interactions into our practice and that is powerful … This isn’t an addition to your job. This is part of your job.  This is a conversation, and that is what we are trained to do … This is where our patients are these days and this is where we need to reach them. We can engage learners, patients and peers, and we are not limited by geography or time – Farris Timimi, M.D., medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social  Media.

Another striking feature is Twitter’s crowd-sourcing capacity which allows health consumers, researchers and practitioners tap into a global source of advice, support and information. Twitter also provides a unique opportunity to learn from patients’ direct experience shared during these chats.

If healthcare innovators and providers wish to remain relevant and connected to digitally enabled patients, they need to go where the conversations are – more and more those conversations are happening on Twitter and the evolving dynamic of the tweet chat is the best place to find them.

Reference

Eysenbach, G. (2008). Medicine 2.0: Social networking, collaboration, participation, apomediation, and openness. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10(3), e22. doi:10.2196/jmir.1030

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

Twitter Adds Moments Analytics 

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Twitter has announced the launch of Moments analytics, a new tool which will show you a range of stats for each Moment you create, including ‘Opens’, ‘Unique opens’, ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’ and ‘Completion rate’.

Moments allows you to curate a series, or gallery, of tweets revolving around a particular theme, such as a developing news story or cultural meme. I’ve been a fan of the feature since Twitter unrolled it to all users late last year. However I seem to be in a minority of users. There just hasn’t been the uptake. This is a shame because I do think it has potential. Here’s an example of a recent Moments story I created:

There are some great tips on using Moments for your business in this post. Check them out and give Moments a fresh look.

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