Do you even Twitter, Doc? 2

So I’ve had a Twitter account for awhile, which was mostly just used to link to my blog articles.

I followed some people, mostly other physicians, but overall, I didn’t really use it.

To be honest, I never really gave it a chance. It was just another “social media” thing that I used in hopes that people would browse through my profile and find my blog. I didn’t have Twitter on my iPhone and hardly used it whenever I was at my computer(s).

For some reason, one day I just decided to give it a chance…

I downloaded the app and actually scrolled through all the posts of people I followed. I liked some stuff and I retweeted a few things. Then something happened.

People started following me back a little bit at a time. Of course, there were a lot of “fake accounts” which followed me and I had to block immediately. However, there were other interesting people that started following me.

Then I actually created a little meme: particular set of skills

Now I am the farthest thing from a photoshop master, unlike this guy. However, simply by adding a surgeon’s mask to Liam Neeson and changing a few words I was able to create a memorable image that resonated with me and people like me.

So I think I kind of get it now:

Twitter is kind of like walking through a farmer’s market. However, instead of people in overalls trying to sell you the freshest carrots you’ll ever find, it’s people having conversations with one another, with one “key person” at the center. However, instead of feeling like these conversations are closed off to you, it’s more like these people want you to listen to them and engage with them. They have already “flagged” themselves as being open to your opinion and commentary. So if you hear something that interests you, you can jump into the conversation and throw out some commentary or a witty remark or just a reaction gif.

In reality, these kinds of interactions don’t happen quite as easily because we are all unique individuals. What makes Twitter different is that people genuinely want to be heard and genuinely listen to what you have to say… for the most part. And here’s the kicker… it doesn’t feel weird.

You can insert yourself into the conversation without seeming intrusive. If what you have to say resonates with people, then they’ll like it or retweet it. If it doesn’t, then it will just kind of be ignored.

However, like any social interaction, there are bound to be people who agree or disagree with you. Additionally, just because you followed someone doesn’t mean you have to follow them forever. You may have had a short, meaningful interaction with them about whatever was a popular topic at the time. However, after a few weeks or months, what they were posting to your timeline wasn’t really interesting anymore. So you may unfollow them.

And that’s ok.

You can’t make everyone like you all the time. People are allowed to have differences in opinion.

If you look at my Twitter, I tend to comment a lot on pre-med and medical student stuff because I am interested in helping this new generation manage their lives after medical school. I also retweet what I think are relevant articles. However, I follow a ton of people, mostly pre-meds, medical students, or practicing doctors because that is where my interest lies. I tend to use GIFs a lot because I think they are really good at expressing things as concisely as possible… and are usually funny.

I’m just starting out though. As I find more people that post more interesting stuff, I will add more to my follower list.

That’s the beauty of Twitter, it’s a constantly expanding resource.

Unfortunately, the “churn” of Twitter is pretty high, especially for doctors. People will start using it and then all of the sudden… just stop. Maybe it’s Twitter fatigue or Twitter Burn Out? I’m not exactly sure why it happens. I’m going to guess because doctors are really busy. However, every so often you need to look at the list of people you follow and if they haven’t posted in 30+ days, they probably aren’t coming back.

A very interesting thing are these subcommunities that are created via Twitter hashtags. For example, there is #medtwitter and #girlmedtwitter, and now #bromedtwitter. These little subcommunities are mostly med students or residents, and I think this new generation of medical students will embrace social media significantly more than my generation.

Overall, the doctors in the physician twitter community are pretty awesome.

I hope more doctors join twitter over the next few years.


Twitter is pretty cool. We need more doctors on Twitter.

Give it a try. You might be surprised.



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