Tweet Chats

Posted by Ann Fuller @annfuller, May 31, 2011

On Sunday we’ll be conducting our first live Twitter Chat with three doctors from our hospital — answering health questions from the public.

If anyone has any suggestions for best practices with this type of chat, I’d love to hear them. For instance, one ground rule we’ll planning to establish at the on-set is that the discussions must be general in nature, and not patient-specific.

Also, if anyone has any suggestion for the best tool to use, I’d also love to hear it. I typically use Tweet Chat when I participate in a Twitter Chat, but it doesn’t integrate with Deck.ly and let you type more than 140 characters (which I know we’ll need to use for some subjects). Tweet Deck enables you to do that, but it doesn’t follow the hashtag stream as easily — especially if there are a lot of participants. Any suggestions?

Thank you,

Great news, Ann and hope it goes better than well!

As a longtime participant in tweet chats, I still find it helpful to have “rules of engagement” written out and posted somewhere in advance for everyone to reference. And even with that in place, repeating them as part of the opener along with asking for self-introductions helps shape the tone.

I use Tweetchat but also have Tweetdeck set up and move back and forth between the two when I need to shorten a link.

Ann, I’ve lost track of Twitter chat tools, so others will have to help.

Re topics, the golden rule I’ve heard (I don’t remember where) is “On social media, talk *about* medicine – don’t *practice* medicine.”

And of course nothing patient-specific, without the patient’s permission. I’ve given my docs permission to discuss my case; so has famous painter/blogger Regina Holliday.

We have found Tweetchat helpful because it doesn’t require typing the hashtag repeatedly. Meredith and Dave have given some good advice. I use Tweetdeck sometimes too…but sometimes also have another browser window open and logged in to bit.ly so I can do custom URL shortening…. as per this: https://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/2011/02/15/twitter-230-how-to-create-a-custom-url-shortener/

Thank you. Very helpful.

All: I have this for ground rules. Anything else you recommend?
• Please remember, as clinical care requires detailed review of patient details, the doctors participating in this Twitter Chat will not be able to address patient-specific information. They will only address general health questions and inquiries.
• Use common sense.
• Be yourself.
• Consider the privacy of your own health information and of those in your family.
• Be positive and respectful of others participating in the chat.
• No spam or solicitation
• Be sure to include the # hashtag in all your tweets to we can be sure to see them.

I’d streamline the first bullet a bit to make it shorter, friendlier and easier to read.

And it’s currently more than 140 characters!

But as for the long updates, I think that you should try to focus on responding to questions etc using resources already on the web that you or other organizations have produced. Then you can fit it all in 140 characters and use bit.ly or similar to shorten the links.

I love tweetchats, although I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on them recently. My thoughts:

Tweetchat.com is my preferred tool. I’ve never really taken a liking to Tweetdeck, but that is probably personal preferences.

I also like to use CoverItLive You can set up the page in CoverItLive as a nice means of recording the tweetchat so others can see the playback nicely. Take a look at


for a Tweetchat that I ‘recorded’ with CoverItLive as an example.

In terms of rules, I generally try to avoid the topic. I like Zappos’ Social Media Policy. It is the best policy as well as, perhaps, the best rules for a Tweetchat….

‘Be Smart!’

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