When Twitter initially launched I was largely skeptical on how it could be utilized in medicine. Initially I thought Facebook was a better option due to the ability to use more than 140 characters. Over time though, it has become clear the medical conversations are happening on Twitter, not Facebook.
An example of this is when we highlighted the #FOAMed movement — Free Open Access to Medicine Education.
We highlighted how physicians around the country are using twitter and social media to teach and learn in a dynamic way. In particular, we referenced 11 critical FOAMed resources for emergency medicine. Nowhere was Facebook mentioned.
I think that’s a good thing.
Mainly because Facebook’s privacy settings are so nebulous. Over time I’ve come to realize Facebook is starting to turn into the old Internet Explorer — bloated. Twitter is simple, straightforward, and you’re not worried about messing around with various profile settings due to updated policies every few months. Even though I was an early adopter of Facebook, getting an account during my college years months after it’s launch, I stopped using it a few months ago and haven’t looked back.
On my news feed in Twitter, not only can I keep up to date on the latest medical literature, but I can see debates between my fellow physicians about the various literature as well in real time.
I would argue there is a higher level of peer review that happens on Twitter at times than by some of the largest medical journals. You don’t see this high level of medical conversation on Facebook. Instead you get status updates about peoples miscellaneous thoughts or another invite to some random event you don’t plan on attending.
Further, Facebook doesn’t carry the medical conversation forward — it’s too declarative. Twitter is not.
Grown up medical conversations are happening on Twitter, not Facebook.