Twitter: The Healthcare Hashtag Project

images-27As a Twitter novice, I spent some time poking around, looking for how health information made its way into the collective tweetciousness of society.  I am really a foreigner trying to understand this new hashtag language and like any stranger in a strange land, I was overwhelmed and perplexed by all I did not understand.  This idea of a public post that is directed @ certain people is still a bit of a mystery to me, but the public health implications of gathering an audience with specific interests was not lost.

I checked out certain organizations, physicians, educational entities and the like, but what I really wanted was place where everything was located in one spot.  I was not sure if this was the purpose or a feature of Twitter (I ultimately learned it was not) but I was pleasantly surprised to find that a group had received special permission from Twitter to form The Healthcare Hashtag Project.FoxePractice-tweet-from-first-day-of-hashtag-project

The Healthcare Hashtage Project describes itself:

The goal of the Healthcare Hashtag Project is to make the use of Twitter more accessible for providers and the healthcare community as a whole. By lowering the learning curve of Twitter with a database of relevant hashtags to follow, we hope to help new and existing users alike to find the conversations that are of interest and importance…read more

The community has over 1 billion tweets that can be found by hashtag, disease, or ontology.  There are catalogs of chats and health conferences.  You can view tweets by what is new, or by what is trending. images-29

This site is great for those craving a little order in the Twittersphere and as explained so well on the site, and as if written for me personally:

Since I started using Twitter I’ve felt that so many of us who wish to meet other people interested in healthcare and who wish to participate in the many healthcare related conversations have been kept apart because of what should be a common language … hashtags.

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6 thoughts on “Twitter: The Healthcare Hashtag Project

  1. What an interesting idea to have a common place to make using social media easier for health care! I like that you talk about hashtags as a language- this is a great analogy. Like languages hashtags can be utilized and communicated more effectively with a deeper understand and good resources! Your set up looks and flows well with the pictures and text! I would have liked to see the connection from “Here Comes Everybody” on the difference between seeing what your friends are doing via twitter vs. following an arrest (in the book’s case) and how these resources can increase the quality of tweets in healthcare and for education purposes.

  2. Great find on the Healthcare Hashtag Project. What a good way to connect to others using Twitter for health. Any particular hashtags that had a lot of followers? It would have been fun to see the top 3 or 5 hashtags from the site. Great resource, I am sure many of us will be using this forum as we try to break into the twitter world.

  3. That’s a fascinating find and very handy for just about any health related topic on Twitter. It’s interesting that so many of us selected hashtags as the subject of our posts this week: I think that they’re probably the concept on Twitter with the most promise for interconnecting with people we haven’t met yet, by advertising a common interest. I agree that the convenience factor is really high, and since it appears to be built off the Twitter API directly, it’s probably not skewed by the provider of the data. Really great find! If I might make one technical suggestion and one content suggestion: WordPress will let you embed tweets directly rather than using screenshots (strictly speaking Twitter doesn’t like them either, though I doubt they’d be dumb enough to sue anyone over it) — just stick the URL on a line by itself into your text, and then you have a live tweet that people can interact with. It might have been nice to look at some of the hashtags that were offered and curate a few, too, since it’s sort of all thrown together in a soup which is of course both good and bad. But otherwise, I thought you made a great find and this was very informative.

    • Thanks for all the tips! I would have never thought to put the live tweet in the blog; that is a great idea. Twitter still really confuses me….but hopefully I will catch on! Since this class, I have sympathy for my mom not knowing how a smart phone works 🙂

  4. I have never heard of the Healthcare Hashtag Project and I’m glad you were able to share this with our class and the public health profession. I think you raised a great point in your introduction about “public health implications of gathering an audience with specific interests was not lost”. This is certainly one of the major ways we use social media within the field of public health, to gather an audience and the Healthcare Hashtag Project is a great example! I like Cameron’s idea to add a live tweet into the blog (see Maia’s blog as an example). I would love to have heard more about best practices for using Healthcare Hashtag Project and Tweeting in general as well as pros or cons to using Twitter. What is the final take away message/conclusion from this blog post? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jenna, excellent resource, thank you! I have also wondered about this before, since it seems people put hashtags on everything these days (#overload #confused #why). But if one of the points of Twitter is to be able to use hashtags to find groups of similar tweets, then why are there so many? And how can you find out which ones will be effective? This is why I appreciate the Healthcare Hashtag Project so much.

    Utilizing Cameron’s tip that tweets can be embedded, it would be cool to see some examples of healthcare hashtags in action, or you could mention a couple that you might use if you were to tweet something from your work.

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