Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Inaugural Tweetchat for #HPM

Effective use of social media in health care can be elusive.  It is one thing to say 'Be our friend on Facebook' or 'Follow us on Twitter', but quite another to foster a community.  As Steve Smith, CEO of AAHPM Tweeted tonight:

  ssmithaahpm Martha Twaddle spoke to the AAHPM staff this week about "finding her tribe" in palliative care; this feels like the Twitter equivalent! #hpm -8:50 PM Jul 14th, 2010

The Twitter equivalent Steve is referring to is the first Twitterchat for Hospice and Palliative Medicine which took place Wednesday night.  I never announced it on the blog, but instead Tuesday night sent out a tweet announcing the event less than 24 hours away:

Christian Sinclairctsinclair Official Announcement of the first ever Hospice and Palliative Medicine TweetChat Wed at 8p CST use hashtag #hpm




For a simple explanation: A Tweetchat is simply a chat room that is open to everyone and a small group at the same time.  By following a hashtag (#hpm for hospice and palliative medicine) on Tweetchat.com you only see all people posting with that hashtag. The magic starts to happen when people not following #hpm start to see interesting tweets from say Holly Yang. They click on #hpm and see everyone else having a conversation, and maybe pass on some of the best posts to their own followers, and maybe you get a viral spread of a meme. This Slidedeck may help explain it a bit.



Back to the story...Pretty soon many (20-30) different people and organizations started to re-tweet and pass on the message, many of whom I didn't even know!  I emailed a small group of people I know from Twitter to give them an extra heads up as well, but most of the awareness was via Twitter.  Soon 8pm (Central) rolled around and we kicked off with introductions and then rolled into the three topics for the night:
  • Topic #1: Why are you all here tonight doing a Tweetchat? What do you hope to gain/learn/influence?
  • Topic #2: What is the last book/movie/song/article/entertainment you consumed that made you think of hospice/palliative themes?
  • Topic #3: What are some creative ways hospice and palliative biz/orgs can engage in social media?
The discussion started off a little slow but really started picking up at the end as more people became more comfortable with the interface and the flow.  As far as stats we had 33 participants with 270 tweets, which was far better than I initially hoped. Here is the transcript from the chat to get a flavor of the topics.

So why is something like this important?
  • A Tweetchat creates content that might spread
  • A Tweetchat lures other people into the conversation
  • A Tweetchat places you on the map
  • A Tweetchat connects people
  • A Tweetchat increases your sphere of influence
  • A Tweetchat exposes you to new ideas and resources
  • A Tweetchat is a place to get questions answered
Hopefully you will join us next time!

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