I was never much of a Twitter fan. The whole concept of updating everyone on what I am doing at any particular moment seemed odd. I could deal with Facebook, since it was a way to share pictures and videos with my friends, but just every day updates seemed a bit excessive.
However, our generation continues to want everything to be available instantaneously. An article appeared in the Boston Globe that summarized this phenomenon perfectly “The growing culture of impatience“. We can get our food delivered to us, our dogs walked, our laundry done, our apartments cleaned, and our dates chosen for us, without having to leave the house. So why expect anyone to be willing to spend their time researching about various public health movements and initiatives? Enter the world of Twitter. By using this platform, organizations like the CDC, can inform their followers regarding any outbreaks, innovations, or updates in the public health field. The followers get a short blurb that summarized all of the key information instantaneously on their computer or mobile device and then everyone is happy. There is no need to do any research or contact anyone to find out the information.
Twitter can also be used to create relevant #hashtags for people to follow, which makes learning about a specific topic even easier. For instance, the #ebola is used by various organizations, so that all of the information regarding ebola can be found in one place. If you want to know about the current treatment options, funding, government legislations and etc., just enter the hashtag into your search field and you are done. It can’t get any easier than that!
Another great advantage of Twitter is that it only allows for short blurbs, rather than the ability to post long text. Off course one can always go on a Twitter rant (like the recent Jim Carrey rant about vaccines, which I mentioned in my previous blog), but most people want to just get the key points of a topic and then do more research, if they so choose. If one sees a catchy Tweet about a new treatment option, they are a lot more likely to read about it, then if they receive a lot of information up front. People don’t have the time to sit down and read a bunch of information that they may, or may not even need. So the shorter the summary, the better.
As sad as it may be, we are becoming more and more of an instantaneous culture. We are all in a constant rush and don’t always have the time to watch the news, or read a newspaper. As such, it only makes sense that public health organizations find ways, like Twitter, to help keep the general public in the loop on important issues. So while I may not be personally jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, I can appreciate the impact the public health organizations can make when using it. Since Twitter and other microblogs are already embedded into our culture, might as well make the most of it! #winning