Tips, Tricks and Peeps for Healthcare Social Media – Volume I

Tip No. 1: Keep it simple.

It’s a busy life-work-life-work cycle, especially for providers and educators and communicators who would like to be present online without going nutso. So here are a few tips, tricks and peeps (recommended people in healthcare social media…and this is not an ego contest btw 😉


Content Production

  • Ideas – I don’t know what to write or produce? Yes you do! Work in a hospital? You gots stories – lotsa stories…and it’s FREEEEEEEE! … Work in Communications or Marketing? You’re already a content producer! Just take a different angle on what you’ve learned. Blogify or Twitterfy your content – that is, make it friendlier than stand-away communications; and use it as a way to garner intelligence.
  • Time-management – Use TextExpander to speed up your writing process. TextExpander helps you create shortcuts for frequently used words, signatures, hyperlinks or other objects. For instance, rather than having to fuss with adding a hyperlink to frequently cited Twitter account, you create a snippet and…voila, the link pops into whatever document you’re using (Word, your blog, email – it’s a system-wide application). For instance, I use “pphil” and “hhis” for my Twitter signatures in this blog and elsewhere. [Note: I don’t have any financial or other relationship with TextExpander]

Content Consumption

If you’re relatively new to social media or want to get a pulse of what’s going on without messing around (or if one of your higher-ups’ main medium is email), offers an email delivery service that sends you a curated daily email of your Twitter stream. Just add your email, connect to Twitter and your set (just read the application permissions first). also offers an iPad app.


You won’t make it in this business of social omg media if you don’t have a sense of humor. No joke. If you take this seriously, you’ll be cooked. You’ll burn out. You’ll lose sleep. You’ll lose your mojo. You might even get fired after all that effort to “seriously” appease your “serious” bosses (just a thought 😉

Now, humor online can go down in flames. So if you’re not sure you’re being funny, zip it – once you hit Send, it never comes to an end. But you can consume funny stuff – work humor into your day. Just don’t get carried away. You’ve got serious work to do!

I have my own style of writing and speaking and tweeting. In fact, I have several styles because I run different personas for different purposes. But in most, there’s a tinge of hidden sarcasm – I mean no harm, it’s just a way of planting seeds in the unconsciousness of followers.

For instance, every once-in-a-while I’ll talk to myself on Twitter. Why? Well, I call it performance tweeting, and the reason I’ll do the talk-to-myself schtick is because I’m seeing more and more inadvertent narcissism (e.g. “I’m bench-pressing 250 and just got RTd by @JohnnyDepp” tweets). The Healthcare Communications version of this is: “We just won the Healthcare Advertising Award for Sponsored Tweet of the Year and got featured on some dude’s Yayyyy. Yay! Yay!”. About 90% of our tweets are pretty much us talking to ourselves anyway. So get creative and have fun.


Noise Reduction

Trash that Hashtag – Regular readers know how I feel about hashtags. I do value them – but I also like to see “raw” tweets – that is, I follow tons of people and when I dip into my primary stream, I don’t always want to see a screenful of hashtags. One way to reduce the noise is to use TweetDeck. Here’s how:

If you want to remove *all* hashtags, just add # as above. This way, you’ll have a clean stream – it’s easy to miss important tweets when your stream is all gummed up with #hashtag after #hashtag after #hashtag. It’s temporary, so you can turn it on and off. Try it.

You can also do other kinds of filtering. Just play around with it and see what works for you.



Kent Bottles MD (@KentBottles) – Kent is a physician who blogs, speak and tweets about a wide range of healthcare-related content. I  mention “tweets” because Kent has definitely mastered the art of curating on Twitter.

Mark Ryan MD (@RichmondDoc) – Mark is one of most active contributors of unique and informed insights into medicine, technology and emerging media. He’s an ER physician and somehow (I don’t know how) manages to labor his passion for patient care beyond his paid work hours.

Bryan Vartabedian MD – @doctor_v – Bryan runs 33Charts and covers matters related to physicians, from ethics to patient interaction to social media. He’d kill me if I called him a social media expert.


Robert Fraser, RN (@rdjfraser) – Robert was one of the first healthcare people I met on Twitter, back when about 32 people in healthcare even heard of the service. Robert runs Nursing Ideas and has published the first book on social media for healthcare professionals – The Nurse’s Social Media Advantage. Of all the people I’ve met online, Robert may be one of the most talented people in healthcare and social media – he produces content, speaks, interviews industry leaders, builds websites and has a true commitment to advancing not only the nursing profession but healthcare in general.

Ellen Richter, RN (@EllenRichter) – Ellen may be one of the best curators and promoters of healthcare content on Twitter. She’s one who proves that a medium as trivial as Twitter can be put to good use. She also helps moderate RNchat.

Terri Schmitt, NP (@onlinenursing) – Terri may have been one of the first educators to use Twitter: she uses @NUR3563 in her nursing informatics class at Southwest Baptist University. She also moderates RNchat.


That’s it for now. I’ll post more tips, tricks and peeps here or on the newsletter (see below). Don’t worry, I’ll also keep on writing my psychedelic/polymathematical stuff since the world needs big-picture ideas for a fractured-pictured world. Tips and tricks are nice and all – but if you don’t know *how* the world is changing and where it might be going, you’ll probably turn the wrong tricks.

Got any problems in your work flow? Let me know in the comments, Twitter or email (info at healthissocial dot com).

Good luck.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *