Twitter and #MedEd


I googled myself the other day and it was un-interesting to say the least. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, I have a fairly muted social media presence despite using social media (a lot … and more than I care to admit). This week’s ‘homework’ assignment for the class was to sign up for Twitter, follow our instructors and classmates and tweet about social media in health professions education using #htech and I was it since this is pushing me to contribute to the online community and extend myself beyond my comfort zone of consuming content. Furthermore, like others in class, I also have some reservations about having my health professional persona online. However, I decided that in order to learn about educational technology and how to use it AND get a good grade, I had to tweet. And so I did.

After tweeting this past week, I learned a few things:

  1. Tweeting is kind of fun and easy when I got the hang of it. Using hashtag #htech16, I found it really easy to find my classmates on Twitter and quickly see the conversations that were already happening then quickly jump into the conversation. It was also simple to find I was able to find other individuals such as Andre Picard who regularly tweet about health and medicine and started following them. Now my feed is full of tweets about health, medicine and medical education and I am reading tweets and interesting articles that I would have never otherwise found. It really brings home that message of learning through connectivism as discussed in the Siemens (2004) article. I also think that even though I am not continuously actively tweeting on Twitter, by expanding my network and following other professionals I am exposed to their thoughts, opinions and questions, which will stimulate my own learning.


2. There are many online resources on how to cultivate a professional online presence. Part of my hesitation with a more vibrant online presence was around issues of what was the most appropriate way to represent myself as a professional and what potential risks there are for engaging with the online community, public, my employer and patients. After a quick search online I found the following resources: 

CRTO Social Media Policy – My college released a social media policy to guide members to guide their members professional identity online

Ventola (2014) – This article talks about the benefits and risks of social media use by health professions and discusses best practices as discussed in the literature. Best practices influence many things we do in health care and now it can also provide guidelines on cultivating a social media presence.

A 12 word policy on social media – This blog post from the Mayo Clinic is great because it’s catchy! 12 words, I can remember that! This blog is also a great resource because the Mayo Clinic, is a leader in social media use for health institutions, in health care, for patients and practitioners.

3. Educational technology in medical education is here to stay. Based on the literature and our discussions on Pepper, I think many of us agree that educational technology cannot replace face to face interactions and teaching, but a blended model can allow us to integrate the benefits of online and face to face interactions and enhance learning and education. Twitter, especially seems to be gaining more solid footing in medical education. Again, through a quick online search I was able to find two short, great resources about the why and how of twitter in medical education:

“Why Do You Tweet, Anyway?” A Glance Into Medical Education Tweeting

Infographic on a Medical Educator’s Guide to #MedEd – I love consuming information through infographics. It might be a passing trend, but there is a definite appeal to me in presenting comprehensive and resources in a condensed fashion.



4 thoughts on “Twitter and #MedEd

  1. I smiled reading your blog Fatima in relation to Googling yourself and agree that our social media or online presence is something important for us to think about as teachers AND professionals. I also liked the link you made in the first section to learning via connectivism. I feel like a bit of a junky when it comes to learning theories so your reference made me go back and re-read the article – especially liked the section on the limits of the respective theories discussed.

    I appreciate that you are approaching the concept of an online presence from your professional lens – very cool to see another profession’s take on cultivating that persona – thank you for that.

    And the 12 word policy piece is TWEET-WORTHY! I especially find the policy direction “can’t delete” ironically funny because I think it is a significant contributor to why we feel anxiety sometimes using social media.

    Lots of great links and relevant content here – in one blog – Thank you!


  2. Yvonne Howard

    Reading your post made me decide to google myself too. The first several hits refer to an opera singer. When I added “Toronto” to the search term, I found some really boring posts about a few different local people with the same, or similar name. I guess my social media profile is also quite “muted”, and I guess I should be happy that my name isn’t notorious!

    A novel published a few years ago explores this concept of online identity. The author has a relatively common name (Chris Eaton), and when he googled his name he found many, many hits of many different people from all over the world. He collected as much publicly-available information as he could find about many of them, invented details to fill in the blanks, and used the characters to craft a concept novel. See a Star review here:

    Several Chris Eatons contact the author after the book was published because they recognized parts of themselves in his writing. I liked the social commentary component of his work – it shows how much of ourselves can be unintentionally shared online. On that note, thanks for all of the great links about how to cultivate an online professional presence. You have found some really great sources – we would all do well to take note.


  3. As I was reading your blog, it again struck me that our experiences with several of the technologies in this course have paralleled each other. As someone who had never tweeted prior to a few weeks ago, I totally agree with your point #1 “Tweeting is kind of fun and easy when I got the hang of it”! And I am finding too that there are practically endless options for following interesting health and medical education related topics and professionals (I mentioned this in my blog as well)! I also echo Trish’s comment – thanks for making the reference to connectivism. It is great to understand examples of the theories in action.

    I really liked the link to the infographic as well – I find that this is an enjoyable (and hopefully effective?) way to learn. We haven’t talked about online infographics much yet in this course, and I wonder whether it would be a useful tool for any of our educational dilemmas??


  4. hmacneil

    Great blog entry. Really liked the infographic by Jason Frank and Ali Jalali, and 12 word policy. Enjoyed your reflection on being a consumer and being “pushed” into info provider role.


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