Well, maybe stupid is a little too strong.
I have been using twitter for some months now.
I don’t want to be left behind after all. Everyone seems to think Twitter is fast becoming an integral adjunct for the cutting edge medical community. Everyone from nurses to professors to hospital executives are using it. People are raving about its potential.
I have tried and tried to get it. But the harder I try the more I feel that any useful signal has been hopelessly lost amongst the noise.
A little while ago CNN reported on a group of surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital who tweeted their way through kidney surgery.
Dr. Craig Rogers, the lead surgeon, said the impetus for his Twittering was to let people know that a tumor can be removed without taking the entire kidney. â€¨”We’re trying to use this as a way to get the word out,” Rogers said.
â€œThe goal is to keep the clamp time below 30 minutesâ€ a second doctor twittered, â€œ25 minutes left!!!â€â€¨ Approximately 25 minutes later he broke the news, â€œTumor is excised, bleeding is controlled, we are about to come off clamp.â€
Personally, I would have much rather read a short story (or a journal paper, or a poem, or a painting) written in retrospect by one of the surgeons.
Who was the patient? What was their story? â€¨How do these surgeons really feel as they cut into the wet?
Even the medical bloggers I really admire seem to devolve into truncated textural twits, posting ad nausium that they feel tired, or that they just dropped a donut down the side of the car seat, or that they are going to bed, or that they are getting up, or that their computer just broke down. Oh..don’t worry, its just re-booted.
33 Charts wrote an interesting summary of how doctors are using Twitter under the following headings:
- Were hanginâ€™ with everyone else.
- Not talkinâ€™ about sick people.
- Lots of talkinâ€™ about ourselves.
- Medical mindcasting.
- Goofinâ€™ off.
I hardly think this sort of stuff is going to produce any paradigm shift in the noosphere.
Occasionally I find some links to interesting articles, and occasionally someone will post a pithy and funny snip, but overall, it seems to be a total waste of my optic nerve bandwidth.
Actually, it reminds me of when CB radio first became popular. I was too young to afford one myself, but I used to listen in on my dads shortwave radio as people spent most of their time splashing about in the shallow end of the conversation pool, as they hit and split, and tried to find out how many exactly how many people were listening to them.
My dad always used to tell me to engage my brain before putting my mouth in gear. To me Twitter seems to be not much more than a dis-engaged mouthpiece.
Please, make the time and effort to engage your gears. Get some traction. Give me some depth. Give me something juicy that I can sink my attention into.
Blog, Vlog, Poscast, write a book, send me a postcard, nudge me in Facebook……all this I totally get.
Twitter may indeed have an important role to play in the medical conversations we need to have. â€¨But I just do not see it.
And I just donâ€™t see why others donâ€™t not see it either.