Posts Tagged ‘hashtags’

Onwards! Twitter #medlibs chat regularly on Thursday nights

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Be sure to add to your RSS feed as the game plan is for new topics to be announced there on Mondays with regular Twitter #medlibs chats held on Thursdays 6pm Pacific/9 pm Eastern time for the forseeable future. June 28th is going to be about eScience which evolved naturally from the MLA 2012 discussion on June 21st and was noted in the survey more than a few times as a beginning topic of interest.

Can’t make that time or miss a chat? There are a wealth of archiving options over at the Transcripts page. Storify (see June 21st) takes a long time to compile, but once we have a few chats done I think it has the potential to show the most value to others in the field who aren’t on Twitter. In the meantime keep spreading the word, I’m hoping we’ll get 50 or more participants this week, and next week some preliminary results from the survey will be shared on the #medlibs chat blog to help further develop plans including a shared leadership strategy. Thanks for participating and spreading the word!

Twitter #medlibs chat: Last call and scheduling poll next week

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Edit: Survey now closed!

From a Twitter #medlibs chat idea to action: 47 replies to the survey below – you all are awesome! It will be closing at the end of the day tomorrow (Friday, June 8th) so make sure your voice is heard. It will take some time to analyze the results during the off hours but (as always) I’m really excited by your innovative ideas, energy and excitement in addition to thoughtful questions and criticism. Please keep it up!

Stay tuned on Monday for a poll to try and narrow down a timeframe that works for the majority of interested participants. I already know it’s impossible for one time to work for everyone because we’ve all seen how committee Doodles go we’re all over the country and potentially the world with differing levels of work/life time availability.

It is clear there is a need for a base to summarize #medlibs chats and present the topics/chat questions ahead of time so that will hopefully help to welcome all.  I have parked a blog at that is easy to add additional authors to, and I doubt any of you will be surprised by my use of Bacon Ipsum until things are meatier further developed.

Embedded Librarianship Via Twitter

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

A long time ago (May 2008) in a .blogspot far away when I was a brand new librarian, I opined about the Medical Library Association (MLA)

We promote anytime/anywhere access to information and resources in the most efficient way possible for our users, and I want to be part of whatever it takes to do the same for our own organization plus encourage this vital sense of community. I have other online community friends of 8+ years I have never met yet we’re closer than family. My dear mentor has given me everything with a fellowship for my education and has asked for nothing. The time for me to give back and have the most effective and lasting impact is now. Highly ambitious words for a 3-week-old, I know, but it’s a vision I have and can’t let die.

The medical library field has made a lot of progress with involvement on Twitter and other social media channels since then. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has had a social media directory since April 2010. Yeah!

Consider a sampling of my blog history directly related to librarians’ involvement in social media, particularly Twitter:

  1. A tweet for change: #PubMed (January 2009 – a call for sharing medical librarian-related input using that hashtag before spammers took over, wondering in April 2010 if it should again be a feedback tool, but now everyone uses it.)
  2. ACRL 2009 – Social Networking Literacy Competencies for Librarians (March 2009 – including Librarians who are social networking-literate must be able to apply their current skills and curiosity to emerging and evolving resources)
  3. Crashing the #hcsm party (November 2009, another shoutout to engaged medical librarians involved in non-medlib hashtag chat)
  4. Health Literacy and Twitter Synergy: #healthlit (October 2010, cover of the first organized health literacy chat and firehose experience that the CDC Health Out Loud blog noted. This is a great example of how helpful embedded librarianship can be for audiences on Twitter.)

Michelle Kraft elaborated well with What is the Purpose of an Association? upon the original MLA Connections post MLA’s Future.

One possibility may be encouraging involvement in hashtag chats. They are a valuable health information service and advocacy/outreach tool that medical  librarians who are already active social media users should be participating in now. Anecdotally I think I see this happening more. Why limit participation to the already active? Because 38% of the MLA 2011 attendees who used the #mlanet11 hashtag on Twitter only did so once for the free drink coupon. You can’t fully engage as a one tweet wonder – it takes time, perseverance, and showing what you know and have to offer to build relationships, trust and connections in both online and other communities.

I was rather surprised by yesterday’s guest #hcsmca (Canadian twist on #hcsm above) post of Get out from behind the stacks: sharing health information with online communities. I see very engaged Canadian medical librarians doing quite well for themselves and their organizations on Twitter while encouraging their colleagues’ participation, particularly with @giustini‘s HLWiki Canada Social media for information professionals resources and I plan to attend @danhooker‘s Practicing Social Media in Health and Healthcare webcast Thursday June 15th at 1pm Pacific time.

How does the online medical library community connect with one another to learn? Ages ago I took over management of the Group Tweet account @medlibs when hashtags were much more cumbersome to find and follow than they are now.  When there is a reciprocal following relationship (if you do not clearly indicate in your profile or by your tweets that you are a student or library-related type, I don’t follow back) a direct message sent to the account is then sent as a tweet to all followers. @medlibs  is still a good way to share one message with over 1,300 interested parties and avoids spam but hashtags are a way for everyone to participate whether or not they are medical librarians. Is it time for the widespread promotion of #medlibs as an international community? Something else?

Health Literacy and Twitter Synergy: #healthlit

Friday, October 8th, 2010

On October 4th, the Twitter accounts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media (@CDC_eHealth) and (@healthfinder) proposed a chat on October 7th with a hashtag of #healthlit to discuss the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy developed by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

What happened on Twitter during that hour still blows my mind away 20 hours later as I’m writing this.

I and quite a few librarians, library-related folks & library Twitter accounts (medical and others) were there along with federal, state &  local/county-level agencies with health information interests, hospitals, regular media, healthcare social media strategists, health information vendors, health educators, public health educators, and countless others.

We were probably supposed to follow a semi-structured question/discussion format centering on the health literacy action plan that is gently cattle prodded moderated as most scheduled Twitter chats are.

That’s not quite what happened.

The energetic passion that resulted from everyone seeking to connect, share and learn about each other’s strategies and approaches for health literacy were contagious to the point of being an instant online pandemic. It was chaotic. It was overwhelming. It was the first time I saw the MedlinePlus Twitter account (@medlineplus4you) be quite engaged in a hashtag chat including direct replies to others… putting the social in a National Library of Medicine social media channel.

It was one of the most unexpected and amazing community flashmob experiences I’ve been a part of on Twitter. I was just one small voice contributing the Medical Library Association’s and the National Network of Libraries of Medicines’ health literacy resources and supporting the discussion about MedlinePlus, NIHSeniorhealth and the Information RX program.

Other health literacy resources I managed to gulp from the firehose (besides the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy) were

  1. Health Literacy Online (fantastic ODPHP resource covering how to write & design easy-to-read websites)
  2. The Plain Language Medical Dictionary Widget (University of Michigan)
  3. Clear Communication: An NIH Health Literacy Initiative (National Institutes of Health)
  4. Talk To Your Doctor (part of NIH Clear Communication)
  5. Talking With Your Doctor (National Institute on Aging)
  6. Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults (PDF, CDC)
  7. Improving Communication with Older Patients (AAFP)
  8. Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals (online health tutorial, CDC)
  9. Health Information for All by 2015 (HIFA2015)
  10. Health Literacy Studies (Harvard)
  11. MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources (NLM)

For me, the most exciting thing was having people from so many perspectives coming together with so much enthusiasm to discuss health literacy. Not a single one of us (or the agencies we work for) has The Only Right Answer: if we did, everyone would already understand medical information and there wouldn’t be a national action plan to improve it.

With everyone continuing to come together and all perspectives being heard, that is very likely to change. I can’t even begin to cover the multiple threads addressing accessibility, jargon, acronyms, disparities, specialized health needs (rural, seniors, etc) that were part of the conversation beyond resource sharing. There is a WTHashtag archive but it’s very hard to follow these threads there. I am excited about additional discussions and future collaboration opportunities though and will keep writing as I learn more about how to get involved.

Social Media in Health & Medicine (and Reference? Emergencies?)

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

It was a pleasure to participate in Highlight Health‘s hosting of Social Media in Health and Medicine, Medlibs Round 2.7. Thank you for an excellent compilation and presentation, Walter!

I’ve been talking about social media a lot here recently, I have just a few more updates related to social media then I’ll move on to other subjects.

Twitter as Government Agency Reference Source

I am encouraged by the step the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has taken by announcing they will monitor a hashtag, #findsamhsa, to assist people who are seeking information from their numerous helpful pamphlets and online resources. So far I haven’t seen where people have used the hashtag except in retweets, but the agency’s willingness to try this way to engage in assisting health information seekers is commendable. I’d suggest they include a blurb about it on their social media page though so others will know about this service after this scrolls off the immediate horizon from their Twitter posts. We already know how I feel about #pubmed so I won’t rehash that hashtag.

Increased Social Media Use in Emergencies – 74% of Those Posting Expect Help in 1 Hour

Everyone needs to review the report of a Red Cross survey released this week about the usage of social media in emergencies. Of course, the first step should always be to call your emergency services number (911 in the United States) but what if the phone lines are down? 1 in 5 of the 1,058 adult participants would try to get help via email, websites or social media.

What was particularly notable are the expectations people have when they use social media in this way, bold emphasis mine

Web users also have clear expectations about how first responders should be answering their requests. The survey showed that 69 percent said that emergency responders should be monitoring social media sites in order to quickly send help—and nearly half believe a response agency is probably already responding to any urgent request they might see.

And the survey respondents expected quick response to an online appeal for help—74 percent expected help to come less than an hour after their tweet or Facebook post.


More web users say they get their emergency information from social media than from a NOAA weather radio, government website or emergency text message system. One in five social media users also report posting eyewitness accounts of emergency events to their accounts.

The National Weather Service has taken a step in this direction by encouraging the use of the #wxreport hashtag for severe weather events… but the reality is you can’t preassign a hashtag to be used in an emergency. People will inherently create their own individual ones, the local social media community will reach a hive mind consensus on what it is, and onward it goes. From my perspective this is why agency social media channels need to build relationships so they are aware of who their audience is and what they are discussing, so in an emergency the agency will know what specific hashtag will be most useful to convey information to those who need it.

Losing #pubmed signal to noise

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Almost exactly a year ago,  I suggested using the #pubmed hashtag on Twitter as a form of group feedback and tracking about PubMed. Since then I’ve subscribed to the #pubmed RSS feed, keeping an eye on everyone’s triumphs, frustrations & randomness that was a relevant low noise signal, and still believing this might be a way for the National Library of Medicine to keep an eye on things in lieu of an official PubMed Twitter presence.

I now have to laugh at my own naïveté:

Medical information professionals have multiple channels of communication ranging from international to regional, state & association listservs, reading each others’ blogs, and social networking tools such as Twitter. We can and do share among ourselves! However, each of these communication methods can carry high levels of noise, or information that is neither concise nor relevant to what we are looking for in terms of helpful input…

A thought I had for a quick, easy-to-contribute, low-noise feedback mechanism for everyone to see, participate in, and track via a webpage or RSS regarding PubMed is the use of hashtags on Twitter by including #pubmed in your tweet.

Forget about that.

It began on December 30, 2009

Um, yeah.

Counting that one and the others through early this morning, there have been 67 of these #pubmed spam posts in 12 days. Maybe there was some spam usage of #pubmed before, but none of them caught my attention in an entire year compared to recently.  The real usage of the #pubmed hashtag numbers maybe 10 or so and completely drowned out by the spam noise (spoise?). It’s frustrating but I’m unsubscribing from the #pubmed RSS feed & highly encourage the @pubmedtoolbar to quit retweeting the spoise too.

Combined with the Digital Jester’s observation about Twitter spam (that Eric Schnell summarized nicely) a day before the #pubmed spam appeared, this is a disturbing new trend on Twitter for those of us seeking to use this channel, and particularly hashtags, to actually communicate and keep an eye on trends. What’s on the development horizon to filter out the Spamalope spoise?