I've been participating in multiple live conversations on Twitter that have been very rewarding. These tweetups, or tweetchats, offer an opportunity to share information, network, and enhance advocacy for improving healthcare. But do we need to give people some caveats about sharing?
In the setting of discussions like #hcsm or #meded, where it's general conversation but not specific diseases, not necessarily. However, when it comes to attracting people with a certain health condition it may be different. Tweetchats can be very engaging, and keeping up with the conversation means it's easy for someone to accidentally share more about himself or herself than intended while caught up in the flow of conversation. Sharing health information isn't necessarily a problem but an otherwise cautious, private person may forget that Twitter is a public forum.
The other main issue is that community is a double-edged sword. It's fantastic at reducing isolation and allows people to find others with similar concerns and passions. However, it also means that it may amplify some negative aspects of healthcare experience or disease experience that otherwise wouldn't be as bothersome. Doctors may find themselves more dissatisfied from gravitating toward other frustrated clinicians online than they would if they only interacted with immediate colleagues. Cancer patients may go through more grieving and stress because they've magnified their exposure to people with a potentially life-threatening condition exponentially.
I've been involved in helping develop a new tweetchat #gyncsm for discussions around gynecologic cancer. For that chat I developed a disclaimer to share with each tweetup which is now posted by one of the founding members.
What do you think? Is this a good idea or not?