Tweeting for health professionals

Tweet and you'll be followed

Ben Sanders, Medical Observer

This blog post is a running sheet for a workshop I’m delivering in Inala today, modified from a previous post. Feel free to ignore it if you’re not at the workshop!

It aims to encourage health professionals begin using Twitter as an educational tool. I originally ran it with Dr Tim Senior at GP13, the RACGP Annual Scientific Convention in Darwin, Oct 2013.

The original workshop was written by:

Justin Coleman twitter

Dr Justin Coleman and

Tim Senior twitter

Dr Tim Senior.
Screenshots captured using

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Ten reasons to tweet
Anne Marie Cunningham

Found at

Ten-Step Program*

(* To reverse Twitter addiction, see next month’s 12-step program)

1. Set up a new twitter account

Later, you can get a twitter app or edit your profile.

2. Enter the hashtag #InalaHealth in your ‘search’ box.

Introduce yourself and include #InalaHealth somewhere in the message.

3. Retweet any introductions you find funny, curious or clever.

If there are none, sneak out and see patients instead.

4. Reply to one of the introductions.

View the conversation.

5. Follow another blogger in this room.

Some like to follow 2000 tweeters. Justin is a grumpy conservative follower who probably won’t follow you.

6. Go to @ connect

Congratulations if someone has RTed you. This should give you a buzzing feeling.

If not, keep trying.

7. Social media is all about sharing, and it is polite to attribute.

If you want to modify someone else’s wording, type MT at the start.

If you want to alert someone to your tweet because they may be interested, add their username at the end. You could add cc or attribute using via.

8. Search for #FOAM4GP and see what GPs are educating each other about.

9. Post a link.

Choose something interesting or, if desperate, post the link to this workshop

All links are shortened (or lengthened) to 22 characters; that leaves you with just 118!

Don’t SHOUT unless you are selling Viagra.

Twitter vs Science

“Nuh-Uh. Some guy on twitter just said you’re wrong!” By Macleod.

10. Congratulations! You are now a tweeter and you are not alone. You now need to…

Decide who to follow

Search for useful hashtags and influential tweeters in your area of interest at Symplur. E.g., Alcohol, Illicit drugs, Child Health.

Or, on your Twitter home page, click on #discover and enter a search term (e.g. ‘mental health’). Narrow your search in the left-hand column (e.g., tick ‘People’ and ‘Near you’).

Or, choose a twitter account highly relevant to your area and explore it. See who they follow. See what Twitter lists they are members of and explore those lists.

@EdwinKruys keeps a list of Australian GP tweeps and bloggers

Before following anyone, look at their last 10-20 tweets.

  • What proportion are relevant/interesting?
  • Do they give useful links?
  • How many tweets per day? (Avoid clutter)
  • Are many tweets irrelevant, private conversations?


  • Assume that every tweet is public and permanent. Remember the Mayo Clinic’s 12-word social media policy:

Don’t Lie             Don’t Pry

Don’t Cheat       Can’t Delete

Don’t Steal         Don’t Reveal

  • Tweetdeck is useful for multiple usernames or separating out your interests.
Tweet and you'll be followed

Ben Sanders, Medical Observer

Happy tweeting!


About Dr Justin Coleman

Justin is a GP in Brisbane and Director of Education for GPs in the NT. He edits a medical journal and two medical textbooks, and is a medical writer and educator. Further details at
This entry was posted in medical writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tweeting for health professionals

  1. Great infographic Justin! I certainly didn’t realise the potential of twitter until I started using it… wish I had seen this post then.


  2. Thanks Jacqui
    Twitter has such a reputation for trivial fluff that most professionals I speak to don’t use it. To be fair, its reputation probably accurately reflects 95% of all tweets!
    But it’s a brilliant tool if you learn to use it that way.


  3. Connor says:

    Great blog I enjoyed readding


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