Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eavesdrop on Doctors and Medical Students on Twitter

Here's a feed containing the conversations of all known doctors and medical students who use Twitter: (If that doesn't work, you can try the original feed from Yahoo Pipes instead.)

Technical details, for those interested: I used this list of doctors/medical students on Kidney Notes, ran each person's Twitter feed through Yahoo Pipes, then burned a FeedBurner feed. If you weren't listed and would like to be included, please post a comment.

Update: To improve performance, I'm transferring the Doctors on Twitter feed to the Doctor's Room on FriendFeed. Please visit and join the room. If you're a doctor or medical student, please
  1. Click on "Share Something."
  2. Click "Import your stuff."
  3. Import your Twitter feed, blog feed, etc.
* * *

Let's take a step back. Regarding Twitter, chances are you've either
  1. Heard of it
  2. Use it
  3. Loathe it
  4. All of the above
Twitter is an instant messaging service, a microblog, a social networking phenomenon, a chatroom, the best crowdsourcing utility ever invented, or a colossal waste of time — depending on who you ask.

Regardless of how you feel about it, Twitter matters. Some argue that news is broken on Twitter faster than on any other medium. The conversations on Twitter are often hilarious, informal, and informative, all at once. And the number of people who can potentially see what you write — instantly — is staggering. Leo Laporte, the technology journalist, has 37,860 followers on Twitter. (Barack Obama, by comparison, has 33,597.)

Here's a brief explanatory video:

But is it efficient to use Twitter? It all depends how you read it. Many Twitter clients, like Twhirl and Tweetr, will happily pop up messages from your Twitter "friends" all day when you're trying to get work done. (This is why many people consider Twitter a distraction and a waste of time.) For this reason, I switched from using a client to subscribing to my Twitter feed — which contains all my friends' posts — through Google Reader. (See "Feed Reading, Three Ways" for more details on feeds.) This way, I can quickly scan through messages on Twitter when I have the time.

If you're interested in what doctors and medical students are saying on Twitter, but don't want to join and follow each person individually, consider subscribing to the Doctors on Twitter feed.

Comments, as always, are welcome.


symtym said...

Please list


I checked out Yahoo Pipes, very nice way to create mashups.

Leigh Ann said...

Hi! What a great resource. (Found this blog post through pfanderson on Twitter). I edit a magazine written by health-care providers, and we've also started a Twitter account, FamiilyDoctorMag.

Thanks for the interesting post! I'm going to check that feed out.

Leigh Ann Hubbard
managing editor
James Hubbard's My Family Doctor

Dr. Emer said...

Great idea!

rlbates said...


Rob said...

Great. How do I get put on the list? I twitter and don't see my stuff on there. Perhaps that is merciful....

Joshua Schwimmer, MD, FACP, FASN said...


Just added you. You'll appear in the feed now.

Dr Alison Grimston said...

Hi there,

Great to find so many other docs out there using Twitter! Could you count me in? Found some great links through your post!

Dr Alison Grimston

Joshua Schwimmer, MD, FACP, FASN said...


Sure. (Just be sure to tell me your Twitter username if you want to be added...)

sb said...

Fascinating stuff - not too sure where this will all go but count me in for the ride ..

Dr Alison Grimston said...

Hi there,

Dr Alison Grimston here, now using Twitter more...

User name holisticdoc.....

Have a great weekend!