10 People to Follow in Social Media + Health

Healthcare is a broad sector and social media is even broader. But it turns out that not too many people “get” the two and make it possible for others to do the same thing. So I thought I’d share ten people on Twitter who I think do a very good job in different ways of explaining how social media and health go together.

This is by no means a comprehensive list (it means, I am sure I left someone out so please don’t feel offended if I did) but it’s just a list of folks I particularly find useful to follow and read when it comes to Social Health, the intersection of Social Media and Health. I took the liberty of copying their Twitter bios as they stand today.

@jonmrich – Jonathan Richman, “Former pharma guy now preaching digital to every pharma & healthcare company that’ll listen. Happily spending my free time w/ my amazing wife & daughter.” I had the chance to meet Jonathan in 2009. Today, in my opinion, he is the go-to person for any group that seeks to “GET” social media and health.

@SusannahFox – SusannahFox, “Internet geologist. Health care gadfly. Social to a fault.” As Associate Director of Digital Strategy at Pew Internet, her title is nowhere near as cool and knowledgeable as she is to meet and listen to in person.

@KevinKruse – Kevin Kruse, “President, Kru Research & Editor, E-Patient Connections newsletter, focused on how to reach & educate digital health consumers. ePharma mktg, health 2.0.” I had the chance to meet Kevin in 2010. His ePatient Connections conference is a must-attend for all people interested in impacting this sector.

@whydotpharma – Silja, “Passionately believe pharma can create better patient-focus through social media Co-founder of#hcsmeu Healthcare and Social media in Europe tweet up.” I had a chance to meet Silja in 2009 in Switzerland. She gets it WAY from before the time she was helping others get it!

@swoodruff – Steve Woodruff, “The real-time, 360-degree Steve Woodruff. I interact here. Want pharma/healthcare?@impactiviti. Business? @connectionagent….” Not too many people listen as attentively as Steve. He really has mastered this art and turns it into lessons for all around him to learn.

@iftfhealth – IFTF Health Horizons, “Health Horizons at Institute for the Future scans for signs of change over the next 3-10 years for a deep understanding of global health. Creators of BodyShock.” I first heard of IFTF while I still lived in Palo Alto, where they are based. They are a brilliant think tank of people that think about the future.

@wegohealth – WEGO Health, “WEGO Health is home to Health Activists. These influencers, organizers, leaders and contributors are passionate about helping others lead healthier lives.” I first met Jack, their CEO,  in 2009. They provide an extraordinary space for health activists to do what they do best.

@boltyboy – Matthew Holt,” THCB, Health 2.0; Chelsea fan; husband; father in a few months.” I have known OF Matthew since 2007, when then the first Health 2.0 conference took place. I finally met him at Health 2.0 in San Francisco in 2008. I still struggle understanding when he speaks so I prefer to read him. 🙂

@EndoGoddess – Jen Dyer MD, MPH, “Stylish pediatric endocrinologist, researcher, former Texan who loves NYC, beginning foodie who believes in the power of balanced nutrition to prevent disease.” Not too many doctors (yet) get the importance of social media in healthcare. Jen is WAY ahead of the curve. She’s out there on Twitter and I was glad to meet her in 2010!

@shwen – Shwen Gwee, “Founder: Social Health (sxsh.org), Social Pharmer (SocialPharmer.com), Med 2.0 Blog (Med20.com)” As knowledgeable about this space as he is a nice guy to chat to. Had the chance to meet him at the 2010 ePatient Connections conference. Update (05/12/11): Shwen is joining the health practice at Edelman as VP of Digital Health.

P.S. Other than Jen Dyer, I have intentionally left out people from the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). I wanted this list to be useful to everyone, in the diabetes space or not.

Read a list of People With Diabetes to Follow on Twitter.

5 ways to follow 5,000 people on Twitter

1. Don’t “follow” all 5,000 people. Pick up on conversations as they cross your Twitter home feed.
2. Follow people you care about. If you do this, you increase your chances of finding relevant conversations you care about whenever you take a look at your Twitter feed.
3. Look at who the people you care about are following: you may find some great people worth following there.
4. Create, maintain and use Lists, to listen more intently to a particular topic or within a particular vertical.
5. Take advantage of saved searches.

For more tips, read the fabulous post “Follow the Few To Get To the Many” by @kanter (someone you should follow, BTW!)

What happens when you don't tweet?

I was gone for a few days, taking a vacation around my birthday last week… this is what happened to my Twitter account.

I am not saying you should tweet a lot every day. I am just saying, when you don’t people stop following you. Who? Those who NEED you to show signs of Twitter “life” (i.e. fake followers) every day. Should you care? Not really…

Should you NOT tweet at all ever? Not either. It may actually make others think (even your friends following you on Twitter) that you forgot about your Twitter account. 🙂