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Richard Smith: Meet and learn from Dr Twitter

30 Oct, 12 | by BMJ Group

Richard Smith At a meeting in Copenhagen earlier this week Bertalan Mesko was introduced as “the world leader in social media and medicine.” After listening to him and looking at some of his websites I decided that this was not an exaggeration. If you want to be up to the minute on social media and medicine you need to know about Mesko and his works. more…

Juliet Dobson: Open journalism and social media

24 Sep, 12 | by BMJ Group

Juliet DobsonThe Guardian is well known for being at the forefront of journalism and for pushing forward ever more innovative ways of covering the news. A talk at King’s Place on Friday 14 September looked at how journalism is changing and how social media, particularly Twitter, are changing the way news is reported and read.

The talk was by Dan Roberts, national editor, Guardian. He opened the discussion by looking back to his first job at a local paper. I loved his description of working in an office that was above the printing presses. He said you could feel the hum and vibrations of the presses in the office as the papers were printed. It was a very industrial process and this was reflected in the way journalists worked. Journalists wrote and readers consumed. The papers were printed and then delivered in lorries all around the country. But now, in the 21st century, this producer-consumer balance has shifted as smartphones have given everyone the ability to gather information and publish it. more…

Matthew Billingsley: How would you use social media during a public health crisis?

6 Jun, 12 | by BMJ

Matthew BillingsleyAt the height of the 2009 pandemic, there were 10 000 swine flu related tweets an hour. These ranged from the helpful (“Swine-flu symptoms: checklist to see if you may be infected), to the more ephemeral (“This swine flu stuff is kinda creeping me out.”)

During a public health crisis, how can we accurately evaluate what is reliable information versus potentially dangerous information, amidst a cacophony of tweets? Is social media a game changer in the way we protect the public? Or is it just a new way to project the same old messages?

The BMJ Group is working on a research project called Tell Me, funded by the European Commission to answer some of the questions above. We are going to review previous uses of social media to spread timely information between doctors and at-risk patients during epidemics, as well as developing tips for best practice. more…

David Payne: Holy Kaw! The Kawasaki ego has landed

19 Mar, 12 | by BMJ Group

David Payne I’m not surprised that Guy Kawasaki’s 10th book is called Enchantment: How to Woo, Influence, and Persuade. It takes some chutzpah to assume near–zero knowledge of social media at a scholarly publishing conference but Kawasaki, a former “software evangelist” (I kid you not!) for Apple, pulls it off with an idiot’s guide to curation, tweeting, and why Google+ will ultimately succeed. more…

Richard Smith: 10 tips on using and enjoying social media

1 Mar, 12 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithTomorrow I’m running a workshop for medical students at Imperial College London on medical journalism, and I thought it essential to include something on using and enjoying social media. I imagined that I would find dozens of guides on the web, but to my surprise I couldn’t find anything satisfactory. And much of what I did find was negative, warning medical students about the dangers of using social media. I thought that a great shame and misguided when social media become more important every day, so I thought I’d put together my own tips—and it’s clear that ten is the right number for tips. more…

David Kerr: Saving the world–pharma dips a toe into social media gaming for health

17 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

David Kerr“I’m afraid I’m currently out of the office right now on the never-ending mission to restore world health—I am very interested in your message and will endeavour to reply to it as soon as I am back.” This rather immodest response to my request to sign up to a new soon-to-be launched on-line game ( was signed by the lead character, Professor Syrum. Syrum will be a social game on Facebook which will allow participants to take control of their own pharmaceutical company. The aim is to equip and use a laboratory to discover new drugs, bringing them to market to improve global health, or as the learned professor puts it—“the health of the world is at stake and you are the only one that can save us.”


David Kerr: Complaints via social media

2 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

David KerrSocial media seems to be the modern equivalent of the stocks. The main objective of the stocks was public humiliation. Nowadays, any member of the public can use social media to highlight grievances they might have against companies, organisations, and institutions and post them for all to see and comment on. more…

Richard Smith: Scientific communication is returning to its roots

26 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithA compelling piece in the Economist argues that social media are returning news to the “more vibrant, freewheeling, and discursive ways of the pre-industrial era” and that newspapers will prove to have been a historical aberration. The same, I think, will be true of scientific journals. more…

David Kerr: The new prohibition

24 Jun, 11 | by BMJ Group

David KerrThe NHS and technology have had a quixotic sort of relationship recently. A current source of collective angst for the NHS is what to do about social networking? The behemoth of this new genre in communication is Facebook. Facebook and its micro blogging counterpart, Twitter, have even been implicated as major contributors to the recent so-called “Arab Spring” in the Middle East. In the US, the American Medical Association appears to be quite keen stating that “participating in social networking can support physicians’ personal expression, foster collegiality, and camaraderie within the profession,” as well as providing an “opportunity to widely disseminate public health messages and other health communications.”  In contrast, in the UK, most hospitals have a total ban on using Facebook at work. more…

David Kerr: Using social media in the NHS

3 May, 11 | by BMJ Group

David KerrWe recently had another visit from Barack Obama to the San Francisco Bay area. However, rather than sampling the delights of the city, the President drove south down route 101 to Palo Alto and the headquarters of Facebook.  The President was the guest of honor at a “town hall event” moderated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A Facebook “town hall event,” in reality, meant streaming video over Facebook Live and White House websites simultaneously with a potential audience of more than 500 million people. The idea of Facebook Live is to let users ask questions directly to guests. In the past similar events have included Tony Blair, and ex-US President George W Bush. more…

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