Your Personal Network and Twitter

Twitter,, is a free microblogging, social networking service and real-time information network that allows people to communicate in small bursts of information called “tweets” which are short posts of up to 140 characters in length. The condensed format allows rapid and frequent transmission of information as headlines, photos, videos and other media saving the reader time obtaining information. If you find the information of the Tweet interesting, each Tweet is connected to a details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. Twitter is a great way to engage with individuals and organizations interested in health, make connections, expand our network, educate people all over the world and influence key decision makers.

Twitter has millions of users. As of May 2011 Twitter has 200,000,000+ registered users, 460,000 new sign ups daily, 155,000,000 tweets sent daily. You can share information, offer feedback to breaking news, team up to spread the word about worthy initiatives and advance advocacy priorities.

You don’t have to tweet to learn from Twitter. You can contribute or just listen as a way to get the latest information on your interests. Twitter users subscribe to your messages by following your account. Followers receive your messages in their timeline, a newsfeed of all the accounts they have subscribed to. Twitter fosters its own interactive community because each Twitter feed is linked to a list of the user’s followers, as well as the users that they in turn follow. Twitter users can easily identify others who share their interests, and smaller communities form around different priorities. While Twitter may be used as an individual’s personal newsfeed, it also can be a useful platform for organizations as well.

Twitter can serve as a great advocacy tool that enables followers to stay informed about issues related to healthcare. Ideally, followers will spread messages by retweeting, which means a follower will take your tweet and rebroadcast it to their own followers. You can also retweet messages by others to help strengthen your relationships with peer groups, expand your Twitter presence and bolster Twitter’s dialogue on health care. The “viral” spread of information can help your message reach individuals and organizations beyond your current reach.

You can use Twitter to keep followers informed about interesting news related to different aspects of health care. You can then build on this foundation to encourage followers to take specific action related to your advocacy goals. You may encourage them to protest health budget cuts, engage their local leadership or simply spread the word to their own communities.

Signing Up for Twitter

You can use your personal computer or mobile device to follow Twitter accounts.

Visit Click on the green Sign up Now box. Enter your name and e-mail address. Create a username and password.

Search for interesting accounts, AMWA Doctors and other interesting people to follow, personal friends, national and local advocacy organizations, local politicians and thought leaders.

Build your following, reputation, and community’s trust with these practices:

1. Share. Share photos and messages about developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so give it to them.

2. Listen. Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand and products.

3. Ask. Ask questions of your followers to gather valuable insights and show you are listening.

4. Respond. Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.

5. Reward. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.

6. Demonstrate leadership. Reference articles and links as it relates to your mission.

7. Champion your stakeholders. Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers.

8. Establish the right voice. AMWA is the vision and voice of women in medicine. So relay it to your audience!

9. Keep it under 140 characters. To stay within the small window for text, find a URL shortener service like, which will shorten long links you want to share.

10. Set a schedule. You also do not have to limit your tweets to real-time posts. At, you can enter tweets in advance to publish at a later time or date. This can be helpful when you want to stagger news over time.

Example Tweets:

Watch: Video from AMWA’s Advancing Women’s Health Working Group

Advocacy Alert! Sign up for Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill today!

Act Now! Call your legislators and sign our petition to stop budget cuts for Title X Funding

Share the News: AMWA is quoted in Medscape and the British Medical Journal on pay discrepancies for new female and male physicians

Check it out! “While advocating with @AMWADoctors I had the pleasure of meeting @Surgeon General Regina Benjamin! Check out the photo(Add link).

Quick Twitter Tips for Real-time News Sharing From

Fast Follow A simple way to follow an account from a phone without signing up. If you don’t want to sign up for Twitter but you want to receive Tweets from @AMWADoctors sent to your phone you can text ‘follow AMWADoctors’ to 40404 and receive Tweets from @AMWADoctors sent to your phone.

Notifications From a computer or phone, Twitter users can receive text message updates when AMWADoctors Tweets. Click on the phone icon next to the Following button on AMWADoctors profile to receive tweets on your phone.

Tweet from Anywhere There are numerous applications to help you stay connected to your community wherever you are. Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows and Blackberry phones along with several picture applications help you upload pictures and video such as TwitPic, YFrog, Plixi, Flickr, and YouTube.

Mention @ When a username is preceded by the @sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile. Once you’ve signed up and chosen a Twitter username, you and others can mention an account in your Tweets by preceding it with the @ symbol, eg: “While advocating with @AMWADoctors I had the pleasure of meeting @Surgeon General Regina Benjamin! Check out the photo( Add link).

Retweet When you see a Tweet by another user that you want to share, click Retweet below it to forward it to your followers instantly or type RT@Username of the user who wrote the message.

Message DM or D If you want to privately Tweet to a particular user who’s already following you, start your Tweet with DM or D to direct-message them, eg: “DM @AMWADoctors I saw the photo of AMWA with the Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Do you mind if I tag myself in the photo?”

Hashtag # Think of hashtags as the theme of your Tweet eg: @AMWADoctors advocated on Capitol Hill for #Healthcare Reform. Users can then click on the hashtag to see other similarly-themed tweets and find yours in the search. As a reader if I wanted to see what is being said about healthcare reform on twitter I could type “#healthcare reform” in the search box and every public tweet with “#healthcare reform” in it around the world would show up in the Twitter search results in a concise and easy to read list of messages.