…we came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.
– Jack Dorsey
Twitter may have been conceived as being inconsequential, but hard to say that now. Major news now breaks on Twitter, often significantly before other news outlets. For brands, Twitter is a great way to connect with customers, often to deal with customer service issues. Modern businesses should ignore Twitter at their own peril.
At Wellpepper, we’ve found great value in Twitter, especially in the many weekly chats about healthcare. We’ve been able to ask questions of potential customers that help define our product direction. We’ve learned more about the priorities of our customers and how we might be able to support them. We’ve learned best practices from others in the m-health space, and been able to stay on top of new developments. We’ve been able to validate assumptions about our direction. All this from participating in real-time chat.
For healthcare practitioners, tweet chats are an opportunity to talk to like-minded peers, learn about new techniques or research, or sometimes vent. Many chats have regulars and a community forms around the topic.
For those wondering how it works: a topic is posted in advance, and a moderator asks a series of questions about that topic. Usually not more than 5 questions for an hour-long chat. People then answer the questions using the chat hashtag, and sometimes the question number. At this point, the comments, questions, and follow-on threads often start flying fast and furious. You can use a browser sorted on the hashtag to follow the chat, however, using a Twitter client, can sometimes make it easier to follow the conversation.
Chats to check out:
- Runkeeper holds a weekly customer feedback chat. It provides interesting insight into people who are using self-tracking tools. Hashtag: #RKChat. It’s also a great example of a company engaging with their fan/customer base.
- #SolvePT discusses issues related to the business of physical therapy and improving the profession overall. The next chat is a topic dear to our hearts: technology and physical therapy.
- Harvard Business Review runs chats on specific topics of interest to leadership and business development. These are particularly well moderated chats that are easy to follow. If you’re thinking of starting your own Tweetchat, we recommend attending a few for best practices. Hashtag: #HBRchat
- #HCSM is a slightly self-referential chat: social media discussion about social media. It’s a good one to talk about the adoption and issues of social media in healthcare, a topic we’ve blogged about a few times.
Our biggest issue with Healthcare Tweetchats is that there are too many of them. A person could easily spend all of his or her time chatting and never get anything done. Add to that the fact that chats originate in every timezone and you could be chatting 24 hours a day. The sheer number of discussions going on every day can also contribute to a feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) that Twitter seems to thrive on.
Symplur has a complete list of all healthcare tweet chats listed by time and with an overview of the topic. Enjoy and chat with you soon!