The Four Modes of Twitter – Part I

Even though it’s 2010, it seems that some people are still struggling with Twitter (I won’t name names, but it’s Friday and I’m in a good mood).

Contrary to what some say, Twitter – not necessarily Twitter Inc., but its premise – won’t go away. Twitter will become the communications and collaboration propellent of the 21st Century.

Since there are many in the healthcare industry who have been busy doing more important things than tweeting (like diagnosing and treating and saving people from bad things), I’d like to tease the community with a little perspective so that they can help spur things along for their healthcare friends.

There is no One True Way with Twitter. Twitter can’t be compared to other media. It’s its own thang – a paradox that lies somewhere between frivolity and utility.

I’ve been helping nurses and physicians understand this social media nonsense (I say that lovingly) and so far RNchat and MDchat have done well in that regard. Still, a little insight into how to view Twitter may be helpful to clinicians new to these media.

Anyhoo, without further ado, I bequeath to you the four modes – or value lenses – through which to view and use Twitter:

  1. Focused
  2. Filtered
  3. Serendipitous
  4. Random

Each of these has their own value. (Yes, even Random.)

I’ll delve into more detail in Part Deux. For now, I’ll let you brew them in your beautiful minds over the weekend. 🙂

@PhilBaumann –     @HealthIsSocial

0 Replies to “The Four Modes of Twitter – Part I”

    1. Yes, it needs to be looked at. And we need more providers and researchers and students to put their lenses on it.

      I think social media has bigger ramifications than may appear on the surface – and so we need as many diverse perspectives as possible.


  1. Hi Phil

    I’ve just been discussing with @wissit what differences we may discern between ‘serendipitous’ (serendipity being my favourite mode of investigation 🙂 ) and ‘random’

    We look forward to hearing more about the differences you perceive between the two in your companion piece.

    I noted that ‘serendipitous’ and ‘random’ are near-synonyms, and that to the casual reader (I’m leaving you lots of room here ;)) the conceptual space between the two may be so slight as to make it difficult for them to discern a difference, particularly if an author is trying to put forward differential propositions.

    However, were I feeling particularly generous – which I am, as I’ve just had an excellent breakfast – I’d perhaps go on to observe that serendipity may infer that it is the choice of sources that *we* have elected to expose ourselves to that produces unexpected results (e.g. we find a book that interests us that we knew nothing about in a bookshop whilst browsing), as opposed to random, which is just… random (e.g. book falls out of a window and lands at our feet).

    Looking forward to hearing more,


  2. Hi,
    I agree with your examples, Andrew – this could be a small difference in meaning (complete random and random with filter (bookshop)=serendipity) – but there also was a “filtered” in the list.

    (ok.. language isnt simple… but interesting 😉 )


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