Created in 2006, Twitter became a new form of social media. I joined, but wasn’t very active. If someone were to have told me that tweeting would be a way for me to stay up to date in my field of pediatric cardiology, to network with people professionally and to share in experience with a community of physicians, I probably would have laughed.
Fast forward to November of 2019 and I am sitting in my first conference as an AHA Early Career Blogger, busy “live tweeting” updates, “hash-tagging” and connecting, hoping I could help spread the work and engage the audience that couldn’t travel or make their way to the sessions. I also found myself searching the #AHA19 hashtag for information on other things going on at the conference or programs I may have missed. This allowed me to learn from the many different coinciding lectures without being in several places at once.
So why should you get on Twitter if you aren’t already?
- Twitter can be a great opportunity for you to learn from conferences you cannot attend in person, or parts of conferences you may miss. One of the best ways to get involved in this is following the society’s twitter page, such as @AHAmeetings and @AHAscience, this is often the source of the conference “hashtag” with updates on when, who and how to follow and when other conferences are coming. Your “twitter community” can also be a good source for these.
- Twitter is a great way to get to know people and science in your field. Finding your twitter community can take some searching, but it’s pretty easy. For example, there is #cardiotwitter, #medtwitter, #tweetiatricians, and more! Just do a simple search with key words and start looking for people, topics and hashtags to follow.
- Twitter is a great opportunity to discuss challenging or interesting cases (with patient permission of course) with a world of minds at your fingertips; providing an area to connect with healthcare providers at other institutions to share ideas and collaborate. You can use your community’s hashtag to help engage them and so it’s easily searchable. Twitter also allows you to create polls to ask questions.
- Twitter can provide a community of people who understand the stress, demands and struggles we deal with as physicians. Communities such as #SoMe and #womeninmedicine often post about what it’s like to be a physician and provide helpful “tweetorials” or online discussion on topics from medicine to wellness.
- Twitter provides a way to connect with the community, to advocate and to explore; there are more than just physicians on twitter and a world of opportunities to explore. Plus, some people on social media can be quite entertaining. Make sure to spice up your twitter with other things that interest you outside of medicine likes sports, news and entertainment!
Is there a downside to Twitter? As with any technology and social media, it can be addicting; if you post an opinion you may be met with resistance or a crowd of people who disagree; and some may simply find Twitter isn’t for them. But overall, the community, the learning and the networking opportunities to me, outweigh the downsides, and like all things, use in moderation is key.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s) alone and do not represent those of the American Heart Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The Early Career Voice blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.