Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

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.

Libraries and Social Media: Who gives a tweet?

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

by Brian Lane Winfield Moore

I’ve been working on a followup assessment to a baseline I did last year about our work blog.  Recently we’ve been branching into social media for communication and I’m honestly not all that sure what strategies we will use to include them in assessment for the future.

Should your library have a social media policy? Libraries need a social media strategy!  *WARNING: the next page has the f-bomb as URL* What the *censored* is my social media strategy? I jest, but it is wise to develop some sort of structure to avoid embarrassing yourself and your library.

‘How can you show the value of social media?’ or  ‘What’s the ROI?’ if you’re in sales and marketing are common questions. I don’t have the answers, but a new study by the University of Southampton, MIT and Georgia Institute of Technology has launched Who Gives A Tweet? to receive feedback about messages on Twitter. They started off offering somewhat immediate feedback on your own tweets by friends & strangers, but have scaled back to rating “a few strangers’ tweets before you rate your friends’ tweets.”

From Science Daily,

“Social networking sites currently take an optimistically positive view of status updates,” says Paul André, graduate student at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science. “Facebook enables users to ‘like’ their friends’ updates, and Twitter has ‘favourites’. But this ignores the value that could be gained from understanding which updates are disliked and why.”

Michael Bernstein, PhD student at MIT, comments: “Analysing the negatively rated tweets, and the consensus that forms around them, will help us understand the emerging approved or accepted norms in these new forms of online communication.”

I’m not sure about this & haven’t signed up my own account. For me, much of what I write and tweet is with an understanding (I hope) of my target audience of  librarian colleagues and others interested in health and library information. Strangers wouldn’t necessarily pick up on those nuances. My own friends have told me they have no idea what I’m tweeting about most of the time. That’s ok since they love me anyway (or at least they haven’t unfollowed me yet), but it wouldn’t be ok if a library’s Twitter account followers didn’t get the message.

For all the talk about what libraries should be doing with policies and strategies for social media, what about making sure their patrons perceive the library’s use of social media as positive? What is the equivalent of website usability study that can be done by a social media audience of patrons for the library social media channel? Since offering feedback via social media about companies and their websites is new, this may be too far of a stretch currently but it’s one I see on the horizon.

NWS & Twitter: Tweet your #wxreport; Time again for #pubmed?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Edit: They may want to reconsider shortening to just #wx and including state initials, check out how Twitter was used to cover a tornado in Arkansas on April 30th using #arwx & especially the critique of Facebook-to-Twitter auto posts.

I think announcements from the National Weather Service (NWS) are about the only time we can read information in ALL CAPS and not feel like we’re being yelled at.

The all caps version is at, but the fun usage of red ALL CAPS is at complete with regular writing encouraging you to report significant weather events in your area on Twitter.

The reason they are exploring this as of April 15th until the end of 2010 is Twitter now has geotagging capabilities available to identify where you are located.

If you’re a little concerned about privacy and don’t want to turn on Twitter geotagging (as I haven’t), the site gives you information on both how to enable geotagging and tweet weather events in your area, or how to tweet to report a significant weather event (what that means is covered too) by using this format

#wxreport  WW  your location WW  your significant weather report

Following this format for Snowpocalypse 2008 that wrecked our Christmas, I would tweet a conservative

#wxreport  WW  N Seattle, WA WW  Local roads flooding w/1’snow+now rain!

or something along those lines. If things were really crazy I might consider turning on geotagging to allow for more detail though since that allows for #wxreport your significant weather report

I’m excited to see a government agency experimenting with the use of Twitter and a publicized, searchable hashtag (the #wxreport part of the tweet ) to enable data to better serve the public and their local weather forecasting offices. I hope it goes well for them and that the spammers stay far away from it & not wreck the data as they did with #pubmed feedback although that seems to have died down dramatically since January.

Is it time to try #pubmed again now that @ncbi_pubmed is an official National Library of Medicine social media channel? Are they listening? What other government or local agencies can do something similar? What can be done to filter out the noise?

Wrong again: (F)NLM and Social Media Growth

Monday, April 5th, 2010

On Friday I lied, today I joyfully announce that I’m finally wrong about something else. To quote myself from May 2009, I’m still hopeful for the day when we will see an NLM social media presence.

I lamented the lack of a specific NLM social media presence as recently as February: PubMed. The Twitter account I was told was not official (see comments) for months now is. See the complete list of official NLM social media channels at

Even better, there is a Friends of the National Library of Medicine (FNLM) conference being held April 6-7th entitled The ePatient: Digital and Genomic Technologies for Personalized Healthcare that is making use of the Twitter hashtag #eNLM. This may not seem all that remarkable but things have come a long way from a total lack of NLM presence in social media less than a year ago to a dedicated webpage of social media channels, and their news account on Twitter promoting a conference hashtag:

Being the librarian/archivist type that I am, I discovered no one else created the wthashtag wiki page for the conference so I did. Learn what’s being discussed, see who the main participants are, and run transcripts by selecting date ranges at

I wish I wasn’t on the other side of the country and could be there, and hopeful that those who are will share the wealth of information with the rest of us!

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?