Re-blog: Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Social Oncology Project (Week of May 27, 2013)

I wrote this for the THL News Blog.

This will be my last post for some time as I leave campus to complete an internship for the remainder of the summer. It has been a pleasure writing this feature and I hope everyone enjoys reading as much as I enjoyed investigating.

Nothing was really turning my crank this week until I came across this post:

Then I clicked on the link. They aggregated 16+ million tweets for this study (that’s a lot of data, Batman)! They also talk about the impact of awareness days/months/weeks and celebrity mentions on the social media cycle for oncology. I went to the hashtag mentioned, #soconcology, to find out more.

Because the report was released just a few hours before I began writing this post, there wasn’t as much reaction as I expected. I think there will definitely be increased awareness and attention in Twitter and blogs as people have an opportunity to digest all of the content. Today also starts the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (#ASCO13), themed “Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer.” There were already presentations scheduled surrounding social media, but the conversation really exploded after this report was released. It’s also beginning to bleed over into the #hcsm hashtag.

Happy trails everyone. I’ll see you again in the Fall.


Re-blog: Hashtags of the week (HOTW): Physicians and Mobile Health (Week of February 18, 2013)

I originally wrote and posted this at the Taubman Health Sciences Library News Blog.

After reading the full article that inspired a post on the THL blog earlier this week, I went to Twitter to see what people were saying about technology and healthcare. To start my exploration, I clicked on the number next to the tweet icon for the article Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 5.08.40 PM. This took me to the top tweets that referenced this article in Twitter. From there I was able to browse hashtags featuring the article.

By far, the most frequently used hashtag was #mHealth. This hashtag focuses on mobile health as it relates to healthcare professionals, tech professionals, mobile applications, and patient engagement.

Another hashtag that was sprinkled into the #mhealth stream was #medsm. This hashtag focuses on medicine in social media and while it is not used a ton, sometimes that is a good thing. Hashtags like #science and #tech are so broad that it is harder to find the diamonds in the rough. This stream though has multiple postings per day and many of them are very high quality. These posts also often tend to be tagged with #hcsm, so it may be that they are trying to gain some traction for a spinoff hashtag. Below are some of the best posts I found while combing through the stream.

Using Twitter to Make Professional Connections for Noobs

Twitter Stream

My Twitter stream

I had an interesting discussion with a fellow student the other day  and I wondered if our experiences with Twitter weren’t indicative of a larger trend.  So I am writing this post for my friends and classmates who are new to Twitter and may have some of the same barriers to entry that I did.

So, here’s what happened when I first started on Twitter.  I followed my husband, I looked up some celebrities and news media organizations, then I started following the people that followed me.  Soon I had this timeline that was a mishmash of all things weird.  While some stories were obviously big enough for everyone to comment on, none of it really applied to my life.  I totally did not understand why everyone was so hot on this medium.

Enter: blogs.  I had this huge list of blogs that I followed and realized most of them had a Twitter handle.  This is when the real power of Twitter finally started slapping me in the face.  All of a sudden, my stream was making more sense.  There were people talking about the issues that I cared about.  So that is my first tip, find professionals that excite you and speak your language and follow them first!  Once I had my bloggers in, I started looking at who they were following and kept growing my professional network.

As I kept adding follows, I noticed that some people were putting me on lists.  I figured this was like a Facebook group or something, so I went off in search of more info.  Turns out, you can create your own lists and you can populate them with the people you occasionally want to hear from but don’t necessarily want in your timeline all of the time.  So all of those celebrities I picked up, I was able to unfollow a lot of them and add them to a list instead.  Now I can keep up with Nathan Fillion without having all of his fan retweets in my timeline.  I also found out you could subscribe to lists from other people.  This is so awesome because you can take lists curated by people who are more familiar with a topic, area, or profession and check out what they think is awesome.  So that is my second tip, learn to use lists!

The next thing that took some time to figure out were hashtags.  At first, I was just adding a pound/hash sign (#) willy-nilly in front of what I thought were the key words in my tweets.  Sometimes this worked, but the real power of the hashtags lies in connecting it to what other people are saying.  There are ways to find hashtags that apply to you using sites like or by looking at what is trending on twitter.  The other purpose of hashtags is to follow a conversation.  When you hear someone talking about a tweet chat or live tweeting, likely these all happen within threaded hashtags.  A wise co-worker (@pfanderson) likened hashtags to tagging and metadata for Twitter.  So that is my third tip, find hashtags that interest you! Go forth and catalog wisely. 

To conclude, and this is probably the hardest part, there are tricks to being a good digital citizen on Twitter.  Don’t be annoying (yes, ALL CAPS IS ANNOYING).  Listen to what is going on and contribute thoughtfully.  If you are an introvert and have a hard time networking in person, this is a great low-pressure way to start networking without having to worry about how sweaty your hands were as you milled about wondering how to insert yourself into a knot of people.  Start small and build from there while enjoying your new found sense of community.

For more tips and tricks, check out this infographic!