Howard Stern proclaimed himself the King of all Media; I have proclaimed myself the King of the Urology twitter world. There is no basis for my claim. I certainly do not have the most followers nor do I have regal heritage. If you repeat things often enough they simply become true on the web – so I’m happy to be the king
What is true is that I was the first academic urologist to take to the twitterverse in a persistent, snarky, timely, and – at times- academic manner. I coached the uro-twitterati including Declan (@declangmurphy), Quoc (@qdtrinh), Alex (@uretericbud), Coops (@cooperberg_ucsf), Tony F (@urooncmd) , Mike L (@_TheUrologist_), and Henry Woo ( @DrHWoo). And I am proud of them.
Many of my most compelling tweets have been published in real news outlets (like on NPR and the Washington Post blog) and even a real article grew from it in Nature Urology. The biotech twitterverse (see Adam Feuerstein) has there hooks in me as well and I have had several consulting jobs as a result.
Like any father I have problems with my kids. They dont listen to my sage advice and they should. To tweet is not to be boring. It is not to be glib and tidy (Hi mom!). That is why we have Facebook. You have several style options for your tweets in the twitterverse and here are a few:
Academic tweets: Boring. These people add pithy tag lines to an interesting article (good example is @drMEisenberg). I have no problem with this approach. It makes for a safe environment and there is no question you have to be safe with your remarks (which I occasionally am not). It is a purely an informational tweet.
Snarky and academic: This is the province of Matt Cooperberg and I. I am vastly more funny. He is what I would describe as almost funny. The strategy is simple – find an article in urology or medicine in general and add a funny comment. They become strangely profound if done right. Good examples are here ….. or here
Mash-up Tweets: This is hard and rare. It is basically the ability to makes a tweet about a timely topic (could be breaking news) and tie it to something else that is urologic or some other breaking news. Sounds hard? It is. This is an advanced twitter move. My best tweets (judged by RTs) were mashups. Remember my best tweets are actually not available after some time since twitter archives your tweets for a limited time. Here is one ok example
Academic Modified Tweets and/or Snarky Academic Modified tweets: Modified tweets are taking a tweet and changing it to either to it make shorter or to completely change it to make a funny and/or compelling point. I’m better at funny. This is hard. These are by far my favorite form of tweets. Good one here
Odd ball tweet: I also love just saying something funny totally out of context. Remember do not be boring. This has been championed by @robdelany who is champion tweeter and raunchy comedian. Not everyone likes him but his a great odd ball tweeter. Here is my attempt. It is ok.
There is a lot to teach my people. Follow good tweeters. Do not tell us about your heartburn, gas, or inlaws (unless its a mashup!). Do not talk to your friends about something silly. Do not add silly hashtags to seem funny. They are never funny. Never. Repeat that over and over until you stop doing it. I will blog frequently about urologic twitter topics now that I am the Senior Consultant and Highly Paid Advisor for Social Media for BJUI. This of course is false but if you keep repeating it…
Benjamin Davies is Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of Pittsburgh; Program Director, Urologic Oncology Fellowship and Chief, Division of Urology Shadyside Hospital. His views are his own. @daviesbj
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