So says Gary Schwitzer, founder of Health News Review, in a post you can read here. He references three recent newscasts that have covered surgical procedures via Twitter. Beyond noting that patients should be concerned about the use of Twitter (and even TV) in the operating room, he suggests that the press should be occupying its time with discussion of issues such as health care reform, not Twitter.
Can’t say I agree. Not about the importance of health care reform but rather the dismissal of medical microblogging.
Microblogging is nothing more than a new vehicle for the transmission of ideas – small, bite-sized ideas. While its format, pace and language may be foreign to many of us, it remains a viable tool for the engagement of a growing segment of the population. Beyond the obvious power of patient-to-patient conversation, these tools have the potential to connect an alienated public with the remarkable goings on of the medical profession. And real-time update streams are how we are beginning to receive information.
Microblogging, whether we like it or not, is evolving culturally as the next iteration of the blog. And the blog, the platform from which Mr. Schwitzer writes, was dismissed by journalists as a fad just a decade ago. Ironically it now serves as a convenient lifeboat for an increasingly marginalized profession.