Why All Interventionalists Should Be on Twitter
Twitter, a one-stop shop for collective wisdom, networking, and breaking news, can offer cardiologists a wealth of benefits, one fellow argues.
I want to start with a confession: I am a very recent adopter of Twitter. Despite my initial apprehension that it was just another outlet where people could post photos of food and political rants, I must say I have been totally bowled over by its utility, especially for interventionalists.
Compared with other social media sites, Twitter is designed for wide sharing. Anyone can access your tweets—so long as your profile is public—and it is especially suited for concise conversations. The 140-character limit on tweets keeps responses brief and easy to follow in long conversations. Given that the interventional community is especially active on Twitter, I think it is especially worthwhile for all interventionalists to invest at least a little bit of time with it, and ideally be actively involved.
One of the largest appeals of Twitter for me is the collective wisdom it offers. Much of interventional knowledge is practice-based, so even practitioners in same department employ different techniques. Moreover, many tips and tricks cannot be found in books, and there is so much regional practice variation around the world. Twitter lets you access the expertise of hundreds of practicing interventionalists, permitting the dissemination of newer techniques that are not yet well-established in the literature and guidelines.
Another way Twitter can benefit interventionalists is by offering an unlimited supply of real case studies. Users always seem to be sharing complex cases in real time, even documenting the steps they are taking as they approach a procedure (check out the #RadialFirst, #TAVR, and #CTO101 hashtags to see what I mean). It’s like a nonstop cath conference with multiple practicing interventionalists. For fellows and early-career interventionalists, this is priceless. Similarly, cardiologists on Twitter are often posting about mistakes they have made in an effort to help others learn from them. The openness of people on Twitter enables everyone to learn from the many mistakes that ever could be made during multitude of procedures, and this can help your own practice in turn.
Probably one of the most obvious benefits of Twitter in the medical field in general is the traffic it gets during conferences. Twitter is the best way to receive instantaneous coverage of late-breaking trials, participate in controversial debates, and get opinions on which booth is making the best coffee drinks in the exhibit hall. You can choose to follow academic cardiologists, journalists, and even institutional accounts for high-quality updates and links to relevant news stories to tailor your experience from the comfort of your living room. Similarly, outside of the conference space, Twitter offers a plethora of academic content to help you keep up with all the advances in the field. If you’ve never scrolled through a divisive Twitter debate, I’d highly recommend you do—the experience will unearth details from papers you have likely forgotten. From time to time, these debates are accompanied by polls, against which you can check your own beliefs and practices.
Lastly, although all of the content on Twitter lives up ‘in the cloud,’ the insight it offers are firmly rooted in the reality of the people who use it and their experiences. Most #cardiotwitter participants are amazing people willing to share knowledge and experience, give feedback, and answer questions in cordial manner. Many academic experts in multiple fields are also on Twitter and are readily accessible for tricky questions—the space offers a unique opportunity to forge new connections. Who knows? A chance interaction on Twitter might just lead to a future face-to-face meeting with your TAVR or complex PCI idol at the next conference you attend.
If you do decide to join Twitter, or already have an account, don’t forget to connect with me at @doconmoney. See you in the Twittersphere!