It took me 30 seconds to get addicted to Twitter. For those who are hiding under a rock and don’t know about it, Twitter is a microblogging service that enables users to communicate with friends while receiving automated updates from sites they choose to follow. As soon as I went to the site and saw what looked like the bird from the Partridge Family theme song, I had a good feeling about this trend that is sweeping the nation.
My instincts were right. Like Facebook, Twitter lets me update friends on my status and see what they’re up to; but unlike Facebook, Twitter also keeps me updated on various topics of my choosing. With this tool, I can get all the information I’d normally get from multiple electronic newsletters, but in a centralized location.
For people like me, who 1) are often short on time, and 2) have diverse interests, Twitter is a dream come true. Within minutes, I had my site set up so that I can receive updates from a popular health site, a news outlet, and a Major League baseball team. I simply scroll down the site, clicking on the links that interest me and ignore the ones that don’t. (An article about the link between Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss? Nope, not now. An update on the Alex Rodriguez steroids saga? Sure!)
Now because the whole point of this project was to research an article I’m working on, I signed up to follow a few hospitals. What I found is that a number of hospitals are leveraging Twitter to keep patients updated on hospital events, share news stories, drive traffic to the organization’s website (or other publications), and in general, keep them engaged.
So how else is this tool being used by hospitals using this tool? Are CIOs using it? Is it something we’re going to see more of in the near future? If you are a CIO who Twitters, let me know and we can tweet all about it.