The value of Twitter for a researcher
(ED NOTE: Eric Topol MD, the Dean of Digital, as Forbes John Nosta journalist calls him, is a big believer in the power of Twitter as a source of Medical information, and looks like Dr. Wu is also. Never met Ann, only online a bit, but can really see how she leverages the net to aid her asthmatic patients, with her excellent Blog, Asth.ma, as well as her Twitter account. She is an asthmatic mom, researcher at Harvard, and specializes in treatment of pediatric asthma in the Boston area)
October 6, 2013
This weekend, my friend’s 9 year old asked what a hashtag was. My friend replied, “Hmm..is it one of those Twitter things?” He turned to me and told me that he didn’t do Twitter, Facebook, or other things like that.
I was a little embarrassed to say that I knew what a hashtag was.
There are Twitter addicts, and people who look down on people who tweet, and many in between. I think I’m somewhere in between—or am I in both camps? It was only a year ago that I mistakenly called a tweet a twit.
On this Sunday morning, I had this interchange between myself and a Twitter follower, Matthew Katz (@subatomicdoc), whom I may have never met if it were not for Twitter. (For actual exchange on Twitter go HERE) In interchanges that were 140 characters or less, we educated each other on:
1. Possible mechanisms that explain why statins could be linked to fewer asthma-related ED visits.
2. A possible role for statins in cancer.
3. Whether lipoxygenase inhibitors are still used for asthma.
4. The importance of clinical trials to determine causality.
5. He even suggested a research collaborator for me.
And we did all of this in a public forum. I must admit that it felt like a back and forth between two people until Joyce Lee (@joyclee, my Twitter role model) broke in and commented about how great our scientific discussion was. That was a wakeup call. Not only were Matthew Katz and I educating each other, we were educating thousands more.
So I’ll just got out and say it. I’m on Twitter and proud of it.
Here’s the story: http://storify.com/Asthma3Ways/why-i-like-twitter#