What’s Your Health Ecosystem Twitter Reach?

I was in Austin, TX for the last couple of days for The Conference Board Council on Social Media, and on getaway day had the opportunity to attend parts of the W2O group’s PreCommerce event.

It was great to connect with several folks I’ve known for a long time via social, including Chris Heuer, Serena Ehrlich and Jeremiah Owyang, and also to see current and former #MCSMN External Advisory Board members Greg Matthews and Dana Lewis.

Greg and Dana debuted a neat project based on their MDigitalLife platform. They call it the MDigitalLife Snapshot. It lets you see how many Twitter connections you have in the health ecosystem, and in which categories, such as U.S. or non-U.S. physicians, journalists and media outlets. It also highlights the most-connected nodes in your network. Lots of other fun elements to explore, too.

Here’s my report. You can get yours by clicking the “Create Your Own” tab on mine.

I hope MDigital Life will be keeping this updated. I’m taking a screenshot of my Snapshot so I can see how my connections in various categories change over time.

Big Advance: Periscope Video now in Twitter News Feed*

The announcement has a bit of an asterisk because it isn’t across all platforms yet (but that can’t be too far off, right?), but this week’s big news is that videos from Periscope are now being included in the Twitter news feed, at least on iOS devices.

Here’s how it appears when you’re scrolling through your feed on Twitter (to find this one I just did a search using the #Periscope tag):

Periscope in Twitter feed

You’ll note in the lower left of the video there’s a red box that says “LIVE” and also a counter of how many people are currently watching.

The video starts playing as soon as you scroll over it, although there is no sound at first.

It’s much like the experience of automatically scrolling video on Facebook and Twitter.

When you click on the video, it expands to full screen and looks like this:

Periscope video when watching on Twitter

Note that the follower count has moved to the lower right, and at the top is a button that says “Open Periscope to Chat.”

I think this is an important change that will lead to

  • significantly higher exposure for Periscope videos,
  • increased use of the Periscope app, and
  • further integration with Twitter on all platforms.

This current release only allows watching ‘scopes on Twitter; you can’t comment or give hearts. But just as pre-recorded Facebook and Twitter videos have gotten significant traction, so should live streams (or archives of up to 24 hours) from Periscope.

You can interact with Periscope video on Twitter just as you would with any other content, but those comments aren’t integrated back within the Periscope platform. At least for now.

When we were choosing which live-streaming mobile platform to use at Mayo Clinic, one of the main advantages we saw for Periscope was that it’s owned by Twitter, and that new broadcasts can be announced from our Twitter account.

Having Periscope videos show up in iOS Twitter news feeds is a big step.

Next request: It would be GREAT to be able to send Periscope users to a hyperlinked account page (like we have for Twitter or Facebook or YouTube) to make it easier for them to subscribe.

What new features would you like to see on Periscope?

 

Tweets have more Capitol Clout than Email

Before I began my career in health care, I worked for 14 years in political and government jobs at the local, state and national level. The last of those was as press secretary for former U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht. I had helped Gil set up his first Web site, but when I left in 2000 the Internet hadn’t yet gotten to be a big thing in politics. And social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were nonexistent.

In the post-9/11 era and in the aftermath of the anthrax scare, email took over as the highest impact means for citizens to communicate with their members of Congress. This morning Gil passed along an interesting article indicating that social channels are having more impact than email campaigns. Here’s an excerpt:

Advocacy campaigns have relied heavily on email for more than two decades, but a recent survey shows that a handful of well-conceived comments on social media may be just as effective as thousands of emails.

In a poll of House and Senate offices by the Congressional Management Foundation, three quarters of senior staff said that between one and 30 comments on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were enough to grab their attention on an issue. Thirty-five percent said that fewer than 10 comments were enough.

“The contrast is shocking between Twitter volume and email volume,” CMF President and CEO Brad Fitch said.

The article, which was published just before the last election, goes on to explore some of the reasons for the higher relative impact of social compared with email.

Having worked in a congressional office, here’s what I think:

Even if an advocacy group can generate messages from several hundred constituents, those messages feel less authentic to the congressional staff than social posts do.

If I send my congressman an email, a staffer in his office reads it and will likely categorize it along with others in a report to the congressman. If I’m one of a handful of people sharing the same concern or idea, it’s not going to register.

But if mine is one of thousands, and the language of the messages are similar, it feels more like astroturf than grassroots.

An email message is the end, while a social post is a beginning. Organized campaigns can get constituents to send email messages, but those messages are invisible to the broader public.

But when you or I comment on Facebook or Twitter, we’re not just addressing our elected officials: we’re sharing sentiments with our friends and connections, too. Instead of going into the email black hole, the messages are out in the wild, and able to influence others.

Members of Congress pay attention to public opinion, but they can tell when activists are juicing the numbers.

So if you have something to say to your government officials, tweet it in your own words. It might encourage others to speak up. And over time, that can make an impact.

It’s not about flash mobs and splash. It’s about authentic involvement.

Twitter: Social Media’s Gateway Drug

I’m doing the second in a series of adult education workshops through a grant with Rochester Community and Technical College today. The last session was a social media overview. Here are the slides from the Twitter crash course:

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