If you look at physicians on Twitter over the past decade things have changed dramatically. When I look at ThisISourLane that has exploded over the past couple of weeks, it shows me how doctors have changed. We’ve cut our teeth. I got thinking about how this might have played out a few years back.
I think of MedTwitter’s overall growth this this way:
- Ten years ago: What’s Twitter?
- Now: How can we use Twitter to do things?
The change occurred over the time that it takes folks to figure out the technology. First we put together the nuts and bolts. Then we make the machine work. It’s like the health technology outcomes gap.
More specifically, Thisisourlane wouldn’t have worked 4 years ago. Why?
- Literacy. Despite adoption, more physicians than not were still figuring out Twitter.
- Critical mass. There weren’t enough doctors to trend a hashtag. Perhaps more importantly there weren’t the clear conversation leaders and micro-communities within Twitter to push something like this.
- Confidence. Among those who felt okay with Twitter, there weren’t enough with the confidence to stand up in public and say something may be fishy in Denmark. Or with American gun laws.
All three of these variables (and more that I’ll think of after I hit publish) have evolved together to make Twitter a functional social space rather than a curiosity.
Independent of the platform and despite Twitter’s unsavory changes, physicians are in slow transition from IRL to online/digital spaces. Driving this as much as technology is confidence with public engagement and the chops to think out loud. And their confidence with the tools and the community are part of an evolving process that will be just as different 4 years from now.
If you like this post about the ThisISourLane you’ll like Freerange MD Archives. This covers angles that physicians have taken with digital culture. It’s about what doctors are doing without the constraints that have normally forced MDs to walk one path. It’s about change and disruption, activism, evolution and revolution in medicine. In this case, it’s how doctors have found their voice, both individually and as a profession. For me, this is the most interesting Archive on 33 charts – it’s the most telling. All posts carry hand-curated tags at the very bottom of the post. Check ’em out and happy reading!