Recently I have seen another round of the cyclical deluge of posts, pointers, and tips telling people what Twitter is meant for and ‘instructing’ them how they should use it. Most of this advice is invariably wrong simply because there is no certain way that Twitter should be used. It is impossible. Even Twitter doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up yet.

However, there are three perpectives about using Twitter that I believe have real merit.  The ties that bind all three are that each touches on a range of uses for Twitter and the tones are personalized and/or contemplative, rather than authoritative.

1. How I Use Twitter as a Killer Filtering App by @Doctor_V [Nov 3, 2010]
    Concise, clean approach that recognizes the fluid nature of the tool and how it can be employed

2. Twitter: filter, suggestion box, idea machine, window by @SusannahFox [Oct 18, 2010]
     Four featured functions of Twitter including example accounts that support each method used

Both of those posts, like all good blog posts, have a number of comments that really add value.  The third perspective is…well, it’s a little different.  I first watched it on my phone and felt like I was watching a cross between Phil Laak and Mike Caro. @AndrewSpong aptly characterized it as “structured free association”.  Just keep your hands inside the car and hang on for the ride that is:

3. The Four Modes of Twitter: Focused, Filtered, Serendipitous and Random by @PhilBaumann via @HealthIsSocial [Oct 29/Nov 4 2010]

I have collected these three perspectives here as a resource for those trying to figure out if it makes sense for them to use Twitter or those trying to get a better idea of Twitter’s utility or lack thereof. The first two perspectives are particularly well-suited for healthcare professionals, researchers, academicians, and students. The third offers more of a James Joyce exploration of the potential of Twitter and is not for the faint of heart. I believe all three have value and hope you find the same.



  1. I thought I was bit more Philip K Dick than James Joyce.

    Actually, of the three, I’d say mine is especially suited for healthcare professionals, etc. Why? Because it demonstrates just how much deeper Twitter can be. Filtering is just one value proposition. It’s easy to get lost even if you’re in Filter mode. Knowing that there are other ways only helps those professionals have a better idea of just how they fold media like these into their professional lives.

    The future of healthcare communications, research and academics isn’t in droll and linear thinking: it’s in being able to feel around the straight edges to the wider world.

    Twitter isn’t linear – linear minds won’t totally get Twitter.

    Twitter is for Crazy Deranged Fools. 🙂


    1. Phil,

      What can I say – my Ellis Island roots link to Ireland so I am partial to Joyce…I think your assertion about being especially suited to healthcare professionals might apply if you limit it to intermediate/social media savvy ones. Part of what counteracts the low barrier of entry for Twitter with beginners is that it can also be overwhelming or elicit a ‘paralysis by analysis’ of healthcare professionals who are used to being ultra-methodical in their approach. There are just so many choices, directions, and applications with Twitter it can be difficult to navigate initially. I think the first two resources I listed provide an easy roadmap for the uninitiated to dip their foot in the microblogging pool. Your approach (IMHO) was purposely more global in its approach and (as you stated) suggested more depth. It wasn’t explicitly stated in my post, but if you look at #1 then #2 then #3…it’s actually a progession of complexity.

      My intent with this post was to provide a variety of options. All of them have value.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: