Image by luc legay via FlickrA little over a year ago, before Twitter was the tech/pop culture phenomenon it is today, doctors like myself had a problem: how do you identify other health professionals on Twitter? (At the time, there must have been at least dozens. Dozens.)
This was the first solution. In retrospect, it was hilariously cobbled-together:
This is a feed containing the conversations of all known doctors and medical students who use Twitter: http://feeds.feedburner.com/doctorsontwitter. (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.When FriendFeed debuted, I created "The Doctor's Room," which was populated by both Twitter feeds and RSS feeds of physicians. Unfortunately, the "room" feature was poorly designed by FriendFeed (which has since been acquired by Facebook). Like the Yahoo Pipes experiment, the FriendFeed room was an educational failure.
A month ago, Twitter finally debuted the "lists" feature, allowing each user to create subscribable lists of other users. Below is a sample. (For clarity, the second column is the number of users in the list, the third column is the number of users subscribed to the list. Got it?)
While not a perfect solution, lists are a simple way to discover health care practitioners on Twitter. (Finally.) Services like Listorious have also appeared which use the Twitter API to create searchable lists of lists.
For easy reference, here's a list of some of the more popular lists of doctors on Twitter:
twitter-doctors @scanman/ medtweeps