Twitter and ADD

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Blame it on my ADD

Now you may be wondering why I entitled this post ‘Twitter and ADD’.  We swim in a literal sea of information today.  In that sea, it’s difficult to separate the signal from the noise.  Between Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter, Tumblr, and who knows what else, it’s difficult to keep it all straight.  In an era of information overload, we are, in my humble opinion, creating a generation of non-readers.  It’s the same philosophy we apply to the ‘NOW’ generation.  We have become a multitasking, multiuser, multi-texting, immediate gratification society that is overdone and inundated with stuff ( yes, that’s a technical term ).  Towards this end, there is an implicit feeling of being left out, therefore, we subscribe to virtually anything and everything in an effort to remain ‘social connected’.  So what’s this all have to do with ADD.  Well, I believe we all suffer from a bout or two of ADD from time to time. Few people now have the attention span now for more than a few lines of text, hence the success of apps like Flipboard that provide small snippets of text describing or highlighting a topic.  Twitter is one of these tools.

Now that I’ve ranted, back to the topic at hand – oh yeah … microblogging.  See, my ADD is kicking in already.  To be candid, I didn’t know the term microblogging until this course.  Sure, I’ve tweeted and ‘microblogged’ but didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.  I believe Twitter has become quite successful for any number of reasons, not the least of which, however, has to do with what I was describing at the beginning of this post, it appeals to the ‘NOW’ in all of us.  We want it now and we want it abbreviated and condensed into a bite size piece.  This blog is rapidly turning into the antithesis of that so I’ll be … well … brief.

Twitter has and will remain, my goto microblogging resource.  Their platform provides an easy and fluid way to transmit snippets of information to a large audience.  While I certainly thought I knew everything there was to know about Twitter, I was wrong. I learned about Twitter Chats and analytics as they relate to generating traction for twitter feeds.  These are apparently ways to create bulletin board type conversations and generate ‘buzz’ within a specific audience or target population.  They can attract or distract based on the demographic your targeting.  Analytics companies mentioned in this weeks lecture series included Crowdbooster, TweetReach and Buffer.

Who To ‘Follow’

As it relates to public health, the following are FOUR of my top favorites on Twitter :

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Thanks for reading

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3 thoughts on “Twitter and ADD

  1. Hey Mark,

    Interesting post. It seems a bit disjointed though (intentional?) I’m not really sure what your overall theme is (is it that micorblogging is helpful for ADD?) and why I should now follow the twitter accounts you are recommending. And specifically, why do twitter chats help mange your ADD with social media? I think you could have used this an opportunity to explain why the four healthcare organization you are recommending are great at capturing your very limited attention span.

    I read this article: http://www.searchmarketingstandard.com/is-social-media-causing-attention-deficit-disorder about how because of the plethora of information we have to be better at getting people’s attention. I think it’s a great point to make that microblogging is very helpful to you for getting across a point short and sweet without being bogged down in excess rhetoric.

    Great visuals!
    -B

  2. Hi Mark, it seems that both of us centered around the same topic of our current generation expecting everything to be readily available to us. In my blog, I referenced this article from the Boston Globe (https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/01/the-growing-culture-impatience-where-instant-gratification-makes-crave-more-instant-gratification/q8tWDNGeJB2mm45fQxtTQP/story.html#). It discusses how as a result of everything being readily available to us, we are loosing any sense of patience or willingness to dig deep into an issue of interest. Instead, we prefer that everything is laid out and explained to us in as few words as possible. On one hand, I can see the benefit of that. However, on the other hand I am always worried that everything we research is too “on the surface”. For the twitter accounts that you referenced, do you feel that they do a good job of properly presenting the information, or do they only scrape the surface of the important issues?

  3. Hi Mark,

    Interesting post, thanks for sharing your views on how Twitter and this age of microblogging has done a number on our attention span! I totally agree with you, I think that there is so much information floating around and so little time to absorb it all! So the best way to fill our cravings for knowledge and news about what’s going on around the world is to read short little snippets of information that is available at our fingertips. One of the reasons I do not have a personal Twitter account (or even a Facebook account) is because I feel like they impose information-overload! I can’t possibly keep up with it all.

    I read an interesting blog on the New Yorker in which the blogger, John Cassidy, who also expresses his views about how Twitter has reduced our attention span and has resulted in addictive behaviour to keep up with the latest Twitter feeds about every random topic under the sun. His blog includes some commentary from Andrew Haldane, the chief economist at the Bank of England. Here’s an excerpt from his blog of Haldane’s commentary:

    “We are clearly in the midst of an information revolution, with close to ninety-nine per cent of the entire stock of information ever created having been generated this century. This has had real benefits. But it may also have had cognitive costs. One of those potential costs is shorter attention spans. As information theorist Herbert Simon said, an information-rich society may be attention-poor. The information revolution could lead to patience wearing thin … This could harm medium-term growth. Fast thought could make for slow growth.”

    Here’s a link to John Cassidy’s blog, titled “The Attention-Deficit-Disorder Economy”: http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/twitter-buzzfeed-hurting-economic-growth

    I like how you’ve presented contrasting views in your blog because Twitter and microblogging may not be all bad news. After taking this course, I learned a lot more about the buzz that Twitter can create within public health organizations and how it’s such an innovative way to put prevention into practice. For example, the @EbolaAlert Twitter feed has been used by volunteer professionals in West Africa to relay relevant and evidence-based information to not only prevent the spread of Ebola but to prevent contamination with misinformation. I found out about the @EbolaAlert campaign on this website called “Global Voices”: https://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/20/preventing-ebola-in-nigeria-with-ebola-alert-twitter-feed/
    and if you’re interested in visiting the Twitter page, here is the link: https://twitter.com/EbolaAlert

    By the way, of your three top fave Twitter feeds that you follow, I’m really interested in TedMed. I never knew that this existed but I can see how those in the medical community, such as yourself, would have heard of TedMed if you’re plugged into professional social networks. I’ve only heard of “TedTalks”. It’s really inspiring to see how Twitter, even though it may receive a bad reputation from some, can help to convene a group of professionals who use this platform to “shape a healthier world”. Sometimes you get in an elevator at work and you have a short 30-second conversation with someone who gets you thinking about your career, your work or life in general in a different light. I feel like Twitter kind of functions in the same way. You’re getting in an “elevator” for a quick ride with working professionals from around the world who could say something in 140 characters or less who can expose you to something new and interesting in the health care field through their experiences.

    The only two small suggestions I have would be to make your screenshots of the Twitter profiles a bit bigger so that they are a bit easier to read and the second, I think that it would be helpful to describe the Twitter profiles you mentioned (or at least one) in a bit more detail so that the audience can gain a better understanding of why these are your top faves and what specifically about these Twitter profiles warrants the microblogging approach (since you start off with the alleged negative aspects of this particular social media tool). With a title like “Twitter and ADD”, you are likely to attract people who may be doubtful of this social media tool but then you’d have a chance to sway their line of thinking by finishing strong with a powerful example of how Twitter is used to shape this world and make it a better place!

    Great post overall!

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