Medical Black Humor, that is Neither Funny nor Appropriate.

19 09 2011

Last week, I happened to see this Facebook post of the The Medical Registrar where she offends a GP, Anne Marie Cunningham*, who wrote a critical post about black medical humor at her blog “Wishful Thinking in Medical Education”. I couldn’t resist placing a likewise “funny” comment in this hostile environment where everyone seemed to agree (till then) and try to beat each other in levels of wittiness (“most naive child like GP ever” – “literally the most boring blog I have ever read”,  “someone hasn’t met many midwives in that ivory tower there.”, ~ insulting for a trout etc.):

“Makes no comment, other than anyone who uses terms like “humourless old trout” for a GP who raises a relevant point at her blog is an arrogant jerk and an unempathetic bastard, until proven otherwise…  No, seriously, from a patient’s viewpoint terms like “labia ward” are indeed derogatory and should be avoided on open social media platforms.”

I was angered, because it is so easy to attack someone personally instead of discussing the issues raised.

Perhaps you first want to read the post of Anne Marie yourself (and please pay attention to the comments too).

Social media, black humour and professionals…

Anne Marie mainly discusses her feelings after she came across a discussion between several male doctors on Twitter using slang like ‘labia ward’ and ‘birthing sheds’ for birth wards, “cabbage patch” to refer to the intensive care and madwives for midwives (midwitches is another one). She discussed it with the doctors in question, but only one of them admitted he had perhaps misjudged sending the tweet. After consulting other professionals privately, she writes a post on her blog without revealing the identity of the doctors involved. She also puts it in a wider context by referring to  the medical literature on professionalism and black humour quoting Berk (and others):

“Simply put, derogatory and cynical humour as displayed by medical personnel are forms of verbal abuse, disrespect and the dehumanisation of their patients and themselves. Those individuals who are the most vulnerable and powerless in the clinical environment – students, patients and patients’ families – have become the targets of the abuse. Such humour is indefensible, whether the target is within hearing range or not; it cannot be justified as a socially acceptable release valve or as a coping mechanism for stress and exhaustion.”

The doctors involved do not make any effort to explain what motivated them. But two female anesthetic registrars frankly comment to the post of Anne Marie (one of them having created the term “labia ward”, thereby disproving that this term is misogynic per se). Both explain that using such slang terms isn’t about insulting anyone and that they are still professionals caring for patients:

 It is about coping, and still caring, without either going insane or crying at work (try to avoid that – wait until I’m at home). Because we can’t fall apart. We have to be able to come out of resus, where we’ve just been unable to save a baby from cotdeath, and cope with being shouted and sworn at be someone cross at being kept waiting to be seen about a cut finger. To our patients we must be cool, calm professionals. But to our friends, and colleagues, we will joke about things that others would recoil from in horror. Because it beats rocking backwards and forwards in the country.

[Just a detail, but “Labia ward” is a simple play on words to portray that not all women in the “Labor Ward” are involved in labor. However, this too is misnomer.  Labia have little to do with severe pre-eclampsia, intra-uterine death or a late termination of pregnancy]

To a certain extent medical slang is understandable, but it should stay behind the doors of the ward or at least not be said in a context that could offend colleagues and patients or their carers. And that is the entire issue. The discussion here was on Twitter, which is an open platform. Tweets are not private and can be read by other doctors, midwives, the NHS and patients. Or as e-Patient Dave expresses so eloquently:

I say, one is responsible for one’s public statements. Cussing to one’s buddies on a tram is not the same as cussing in a corner booth at the pub. If you want to use venting vocabulary in a circle, use email with CC’s, or a Google+ Circle.
One may claim – ONCE – ignorance, as in, “Oh, others could see that??” It must, I say, then be accompanied by an earnest “Oh crap!!” Beyond that, it’s as rude as cussing in a streetcorner crowd.

Furthermore, it seemed the tweet served no other goal as to be satirical, sardonic, sarcastic and subversive (words in the bio of the anesthetist concerned). And sarcasm isn’t limited to this one or two tweets. Just the other day he was insulting to a medical student saying among other things:“I haven’t got anything against you. I don’t even know you. I can’t decide whether it’s paranoia, or narcissism, you have”. 

We are not talking about restriction of “free speech” here. Doctors just have to think twice before they say something, anything on Twitter and Facebook, especially when they are presenting themselves as MD.  Not only because it can be offensive to colleagues and patients, but also because they have a role model function for younger doctors and medical students.

Isolated tweets of one or two doctors using slang is not the biggest problem, in my opinion. What I found far more worrying, was the arrogant and insulting comment at Facebook and the massive support it got from other doctors and medical students. Apparently there are many “I-like-to-exhibit-my-dark-humor-skills-and-don’t-give-a-shit-what-you think-doctors” at Facebook (and Twitter) and they have a large like-minded medical audience: the “medical registrar page alone has 19,000 (!) “fans”.

Sadly there is a total lack of reflection and reason in many of the comments. What to think of:

“wow, really. The quasi-academic language and touchy-feely social social science bullshit aside, this woman makes very few points, valid or otherwise. Much like these pages, if you’re offended, fuck off and don’t follow them on Twitter, and cabbage patch to refer to ITU is probably one of the kinder phrases I’ve heard…”

and

“Oh my god. Didnt realise there were so many easily offended, left winging, fun sponging, life sucking, anti- fun, humourless people out there. Get a grip people. Are you telling me you never laughed at the revue’s at your medical schools?”

and

“It may be my view and my view alone but the people who complain about such exchanges, on the whole, tend to be the most insincere, narcissistic and odious little fuckers around with almost NO genuine empathy for the patient and the sole desire to make themselves look like the good guy rather than to serve anyone else.”

It seems these doctors and their fans don’t seem to possess the communicative and emphatic skills one would hope them to have.

One might object that it is *just* Facebook or that “#twitter is supposed to be fun, people!” (dr Fiona) 

I wouldn’t agree for 3 reasons:

  • Doctors are not teenagers anymore and need to act as grown-ups (or better: as professionals)
  • There is no reason to believe that people who make it their habit to offend others online behave very differently IRL
  • Seeing Twitter as “just for fun” is an underestimation of the real power of Twitter

Note: *It is purely coincidental that the previous post also involved Anne Marie.





#FollowFriday #FF @DrJenGunter: EBM Sex Health Expert Wielding the Lasso of Truth

19 08 2011

If you’re on Twitter you probably seen the #FF or #FollowFriday phenomenon. FollowFriday is a way to recommend people on Twitter to others. For at least 2 reasons: to acknowledge your favorite tweople and to make it easier for your followers to find new interesting people.

However, some #FollowFriday tweet-series are more like a weekly spam. Almost 2 years ago I blogged about the misuse of FF-recommendations and I gave some suggestions to do #FollowFriday the right way: not by sheer mentioning many people in numerous  tweets, but by recommending one or a few people a time, and explaining why this person is so awesome to follow.

Twitter Lists are also useful tools for recommending people (see post). You could construct lists of your favorite Twitter people for others to follow. I have created a general FollowFridays list, where I list all the people I have recommended in a #FF-tweet and/or post.

In this post I would like to take up the tradition of highlighting the #FF favs at my blog. .

This FollowFriday I recommend:  

Jennifer Gunter

Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter at Twitter), is a beautiful lady, but she shouldn’t be tackled without gloves, for she is a true defender of evidence-based medicine and wields the lasso of truth.

Her specialty is OB/GYN. She is a sex health expert. No surprise, many tweets are related to this topic, some very serious, some with a humorous undertone. And there can be just fun (re)tweets, like:

LOL -> “@BackpackingDad: New Word: Fungry. Full-hungry. “I just ate a ton of nachos, but hot damn am I fungry for those Buffalo wings!””

Dr Jen Gunter has a blog Dr. Jen Gunther (wielding the lasso of truth). 

Again we find the same spectrum of posts, mostly in the field of ob/gyn. You need not be an ob/gyn nor an EBM expert to enjoy them. Jen’s posts are written in plain language, suitable for anyone to understand (including patients).

Some titles:

In addition, There are also hilarious posts like “Cosmo’s sex position of the day proves they know nothing about good sex or women“,where she criticizes Cosmo for tweeting impossible sex positions (“If you’re over 40, I dare you to even GET into that position! “), which she thinks were created by one of the following:

A) a computer who has never had sex and is not programmed to understand how the female body bends.
B) a computer programmer who has never has sex and has no understanding of how the female body bends.
C) a Yogi master/Olympic athlete.

Sometimes the topic is blogging. Jen is a fierce proponent of medical blogging. She sees it as a way to “promote” yourself as a doctor, to learn from your readers and to “contribute credible content drowns out garbage medical information” (true) and as an ideal platform to deliver content to your patients and like-minded medical professionals. (great idea)

Read more at:

You can follow Jen at her Twitter-account (http://twitter.com/#!/DrJenGunter) and/or you can follow my lists. She is on:  ebm-cochrane-sceptics and the followfridays list.

Of course you can also take a subscription to her blog http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/

Related articles





Lanyrd, the Social Conference Directory

24 11 2010

I’m a blogger who usually needs quite some time to write blog posts. However, I just learned about a new tool that I need not describe in detail. Firstly, because Heidi Allen just described the tool in a blog post here. Secondly, because the tool is so intuitive and easy.

I’m talking about Lanyrd, a directory of geeky events, technical conferences and social meetings.

It is really so simple and effective. Please follow me.

You go to http://lanyrd.com/, connect via OAuth to Twitter and before you can count to 3, Lanyrd shows you the conferences your friends on Twitter are going to as a speaker (blue border) or an attendee. You can also see friends who keep track of the conference (vague).

Unfortunately purely scientific or medical conferences are not included, but who knows what Lanyrd is up to.

You can track the conferences by subscribing in iCal / Outlook. It is also easy to add conferences.

I might go to Medicine 2.0, but I didn’t make up my mind yet. If I click on the link I see the following page:

You can click on “Attend” or on “Track” if this applies. Furthermore you get an overview of the conference: the location, the link to the website, the Twitter account, the hashtag used in tweets (#med2) and of the speakers.

Oh …. there are none yet, so I added a few.

It is easy to do, people who have never logged into the site can also be added. However, if helps to know the exact twitter name, if many people on Twitter share the same name (else you have to check all the profiles generated with Twitter search).

Lanyrd is the baby of the recently married couple Simon Willison and Natalie Downe. And as it goes with babies, they grow up.

What can we expect the next few years?

Simon in the Guardian:

“We have lots of exciting plans for Lanyrd’s future. One of the things we’re very keen on is gathering information on past conferences – speaker slides, videos, audio recordings and write-ups. In five years’ time, we hope we’ll have the best collection of conference coverage possible.”

Credits to Heidi Allen (@dreamingspires) and Anne Marie Cunningham (@amcunningham) who discussed Lanyrd on Twitter. As said, Heidi wrote a post on Lanyrd, and Anne Marie wrote a short blogpost at Wishful Thinking in Medical Education on the need to find list of upcoming medical or health conferences- and the hashtags that would be used to cover them on twitter. The Solution as it appeared was Lanyrd (at least for some of the conferences).





Reclaim your Privacy on Facebook using a Simple Bookmarklet

20 05 2010

Of all social networking sites, Facebook causes the greatest privacy concerns. Certainly since it has changed its privacy options over time.

In the beginning, Facebook restricted the visibility of a user’s personal information to just their friends and their “network”, but the default privacy settings have become much more permissive, as you can see in the video below.
This short video is based on a visualization made by Matt McKeon and gives only an impression of a work-in-progress
(for up to date info check the original animation at http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy/).

The reason? According Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg the controversial new default and permanent settings just reflect the way the world has changed, becoming more public and less private (see ReadWriteWeb).

“Default” is the key to the problems. You have to opt out to protect your privacy. However to fully protect your privacy on Facebook, you have to navigate through 50 settings with more than 170 options (see great charts at the NY Times!). Facebook’s privacy policy is longer than the American constitution!!!

Shocked by the results of the ACLU’s Facebook Quiz (see Mashable), I already changed my privacy settings last summer. Doing a simple quiz on Facebook meant everything on your profile (whether you use privacy settings or not), is available to the quiz. Even more worrying, when your friends do a quiz, everything on your profile is made available to the developers as well.

Since the default privacy settings have changed, my settings needed to be adapted again. But where were the leaks in the 170 options?

Luckily there is a very simple bookmarklet Reclaim Privacy that can check and fix your profile in 2 minutes (see Mashable.com) It is very easy.

1. First go to Reclaim Privacy and drag the bookmarklet to your web browser bookmarks bar
(in the example I dragged the bookmarklet into Chrome’s bookmarks (upper arrow)

2. Go to your Facebook privacy settings and then click that bookmark (Scan for Privacy, see arrow) once you are on Facebook.

3. You will see a series of privacy scans that inspect your privacy settings and warn you about settings that might be unexpectedly public.
In my case my friends could still accidentally share my personal information. This is indicated by a red sign: “insecure.

4. So I clicked “prevent friends from sharing your data”, and in seconds this was the result:

5. I tweaked the contact information a bit (caution) by changing my contact settings, but I still would allow everyone to add me as a friend (I still have to approve, don’t I?)

Piece of cake!





Silly Saturday 23 # Twitter Cartoons

15 05 2010

Like my previous Silly Saturday/Friday Foolery this a post in the style of “A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words”.

It also fits in with my last post: “A Quantitave Study suggests that Twitter is not Primarily a Social Networking Site”

[1] As a matter of fact the first cartoon is from the presentation of Haewoon Kwak et al that I reviewed in that post, although they used it in a different context.

What do you think when you see this cartoon (by Ian D. Marsden)?

My first impression is that someone twitters instead of helping people out when there is a riot, accident, terrorist attack etc., but its meaning is positive: “During the Iranian election unrest Twitter was used as a powerful tool to get news out of the country”

[2] Twitter as it is seen by many…

A bit of self-mockery is always sound. Although of course my Twitter behavior is quite unlike that depicted above.

[3] But I do recognize the behavior of Twitter sheep like these (and I don’t mean the lonely sheep but the ‘sheepish followers of celebrities). Brilliant cartoon by Gerald the Sheep (Ben Gallagher)

[4] Noise to Signal also posts some excellent Twitter-cartoons (and Facebook, i-pad etc). The Cartoon below (from RobCottingham) is from the post: “Mommy, where do hashtags come from?” Do you know where # come from?

Here a real-world example of the confusion hashtags (#) can cause…

"There are 3 hashtags in use, which one is the real one?" http://twitter.com/Dymphie/status/13776462934

That is it for now.

And also from Ramona 🙂  ….Glad I’m not a lonely sheep)…

Credits:

  1. Cartoon: Iranian Election Demonstrations and Twitter » Iranian Elections and Twitter by Ian D. Marsden on Marsden Cartoons
  2. Twitter Sheep : Gerald-sheep at bengallagher.com
  3. “Mommy, where do hashtags come from?” from Noise to Signal (Rob Cottingham)




A Quantitave Study suggests that Twitter is not Primarily a Social Networking Site

13 05 2010

A lot can be said about Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media. What is the best, the most useful, the most popular the most social (and has the least privacy-issues, hehe Facebook)?

You know I love Twitter. Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. The tweets don’t exceed 140 characters, so your message must be very concise. For me Twitter is a very rich source of information and a useful networking site. But it is hard to explain that to others.

Some Most people think that individuals who twitter are just parroting others (hé this is called retweeting, guys!) or are just egocentric bores (“I eat cornflakes for dinner”).

Well, a recent quantitative study by a group of researchers at Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology suggest that they might just be right. … Or at least their data suggest Twitter may be less of a social site and more of a news site.

According to Haewoon Kwak et al this is the first quantitative Twitter study ever.

The researchers crawled the entire Twitter site and obtained 41.7 million user profiles, 1.47 billion social relations, 4,262 trending topics, and 106 million tweets. They looked at the follower-following topology, looked at the ranking by number of followers and by PageRank, analyzed the retweets and the tweets of top trending topics.

You can read the main conclusions in the power presentation below and their abstract for Proceedings of the 19th International World Wide Web (WWW) Conference, April 26-30, 2010, Raleigh NC (USA). Below the abstract you can also find links to two download files, enabling you to reanalyze the data
Going Social Now and ReadWriteWeb also give a nice overview.

What are their main conclusions:

  • Twitter is not very “social”
    • It is “I follow you”, not “lets become friends” and you don’t have to approve or follow back. Following thus means that you “just subscribe” to the tweets of that person.
    • Only 22.1% of the relationships are reciprocal, thus 77.9% of the relationships is one way, just one of two is following the other. Surprisingly, 67.6% of users on Twitter are not followed by any of the people they follow.
    • this low reciprocity is unlike all other human social networks.
  • For most tweople, Twitter is primarily a source of information, not a social networking or information dissemination platform.
    • The Majority of topics (54,3%) are headline topics
    • Few users reach a large audience directly.
    • The average path length between two people on Twitter is 4.12. This is much shorter than Stanley Milgram’s original experiment uncovering the “six degrees of separation” phenomena.
    • Any retweeted tweet is to reach an average of 1,000 users no matter what the number of followers is of the original tweet.
    • Once retweeted, a tweet gets retweeted almost instantly on next hops, signifying fast diffusion of information after the 1st retweet.

It is a beautiful study that highlights the topological characteristics of Twitter.

One word of caution. Twitter is analyzed as a whole. There are many subpopulations with their own kinetics and goals. So the majority of people may follow the news, and fans may follow a celebrity by the million, but there are (relatively) small niches on Twitter, like health and medicine (or science) that may not follow the same rules.
I daresay (guess) that more people in this niche follow each other and do use Twitter both as a source of information and as as  network for social communication.
But these small niches are outnumbered by others (news sites, CEOs, celebrities).
At least that is my hypothesis.

Who is going to test this??

Many different Twitter birds in a flock

Credits





#FollowFriday #FF Dutch @Nutrigenomics @Beatis @TheSofa @DrShock @digicmb

21 11 2009

Last week I announced that I would weekly update my FollowFriday Twitter list.

On the FollowFriday list are people I would like to recommend to you.

When you’re on Twitter you can follow my FF-list here:
http://twitter.com/laikas/followfridays-ff/

This week I would like to put several Dutch people in the limelight.

All these people have in common that they twitter mainly in English about scientific and/or library 2.0 subjects. And they are all nice.

@digicmb (medlib, geek, NL, **) and @DrShock (doctor, psychi, NL, **) were already on my #FF-list

@digicmb (Guus van den Brekel) was on Twitter long before I gave it a try. He knows a lot about Second Life, Web 2.0 Tools (especially all kinds of widgets and Netvibes)  and is always willing to share information. A must follow for librarians. His blog is http://digicmb.blogspot.com/. The Google Wave directory of helpful waves! is a recent post that I liked.

I already knew @DrShock as a blogger. DrShock is a Dutch psychiatrist working in a University hospital. His specialty in psychiatry is the treatment of depression. His blog (http://www.shockmd.com/) is regularly mentioned on this blog. It has a beautiful lay-out with a broad coverage of subjects. DrShock even regularly participates in the Medlibs Round and will be a future host of this Medical Librarian blog carnival as well.

Another Dutch psychiatrist, with a similarly well chosen name: @TheSofa. Georg Fritz is only recently on Twitter, but had interesting Tweets right from the start. He also started a posterous account: georgfritz’s posterous. I like the The November poem I by Thomas Hood, that starts like this: No sun–no moon!  No morn–no noon!  No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–  No sky–no earthly view–  No distance looking blue–….
No wonder people get depressed at this time of year.

Also very interesting are the tweets of @Nutrigenomics, Professor in Nutrigenomics, Wageningen University and Director of NL Nutrigenomics Centre. Main emphasis of tweets is on genetics, nutrition, science and health. The link at his Twitter account goes to the Nutrition, Metabolism Genomics Groupat the Wageningen University.

Last week I first ‘met’ @Beatis on Twitter. She is still not sure about the value of Twitter. I hope she will stay tweeting, because her tweets -that can be best described as (moderately) skeptic- are certainly valuable. She co-authors the (english-language) Anaximperator blog. The purpose of this blog is to warn against alternative medicine and alternative medicine for cancer in particular.

You may also want to read:

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Medlibs Round 1.8 at Highlight Health

14 11 2009

For those that haven’t yet seen it:

The MedLib’s Round, the monthly blog carnival that highlights some of the best writing on medical librarianship, encompassing all stages in the publication and dissemination of medical information: writing, publishing, searching, citing, managing and social networking is up at Highlight Health (link).

The theme of this incredible 8th edition is: Finding Credible Health Information Online.

Walter Jessen introduces the round as follows:

There’s a revolution occurring on the Web: those “authoritative” articles written on traditional, static websites are being replaced with blogs, wikis and online social networks. In the sphere of health, medicine and information technology, this “real-time Web” consists of many who are experts in the field; these are their posts listed below.
In the digital age, these are the characteristics of new media: recent, relevant, reachable and reliable.

Subjects: “Searching the Web for health information”, “Biomedical research”, “Web 2.0 tools”, “PubMed Redesigned” and “Social media and participatory medicine” with contributions of Women’s Health News, Our Bodies Our Blog [@rachel_w]* Emerging Technologies Librarian [@pfanderson] Musings of a Distractible Mind [@doc_rob] Laika’s MedLibLog [@ericrumsey, Janet Wale, @Laikas], Significant Science [@hleman], Websearch Guide Internet News [Gwen Harris], Alisha764’s Blog [@alisha764] Next Generation Science [@NextGenScience], Dr Shock MD Ph [@DrShock], Life in the Fast Lane [@sandnsurf], Knowledge beyond words [@novoseek on Twitter], Eagle Dawg Blog [@eagledawg], The Search Principle blog [@giustini], Krafty Librarian [@Krafty], Dose of Digital [@jonmrich], e-Patients.net [@SusannahFox] and Highlight HEALTH [@HighlightHEALTH].

Walter Jessen [wjjessen] concluded the blog carnival with a great presentation of Kevin Clauson [@kevinclauson] on the role of Facebook and Twitter in pharmacy and the development of participatory medicine. Since I intended to show this presentation anyway, I might as well place it here 😉 :

Please enjoy reading the blog carnival at Highlight Health.

The host of the next edition of MedLib’s Round will be Knowledge Beyond Words (http://blog.novoseek.com). Valentin of Novoseek invites you to start submitting through this form http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_6092.html

Past and future hosts can be found on the Medlib’s Archive.

*links refer to the Twitter addresses.

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Laika’s #FollowFriday #FF Twitter List

13 11 2009

In my post Twitter’s #FollowFriday #FF – Over the Top. Literally I explained what Twitter’s FollowFriday or FF means, how this Twitter meme started and how FollowFriday should and shouldn’t be used.

In short, FollowFriday is a way to recommend a few people to your Twitter-followers. For at least 2 reasons: to acknowledge those favorite tweeters and make it easier for your followers to find new interesting people.

However, many people don’t use the FollowFriday correctly. For instance, they spend several tweets just mentioning dozens of @people and they repeat the tweets (retweet) about each recommendation they get @themselves. That is annoying for people seeing these tweets appearing in their timeline.

In this FollowFriday post I suggested some Twitter Etiquette Rules as well as some alternatives for the FollowFriday approach.

Now there is another alternative, which can either be used alone or as an adjunct to the normal FollowFriday-tweets:

Twitterlists!

The Twitter List feature is designed to make following and suggesting groups of tweeters easier. Everyone on Twitter can create up to 20 lists with a maximum of 500 Twitter people each. Others can follow these lists as well. So instead of FollowFridays you could construct lists of your favorite Twitter people for others to follow. There is one disadvantage of this approach: context is lost. You can only put people on a list without any further explanation why. Of course, you can create separate lists of categories of people, in my case librarians, doctors and funny people for instance, so others have an idea what to expect.

Some people think Twitterlists make FollowFridays obsolete. However Twitterlists and FollowFridays could reinforce each other. At least that’s what I will try using the following approach.

I will construct a FollowFriday Twitter list on basis of my FollowFriday-tweets. They provide the context. Because Tweets get lost, I will gather those tweets on a separate page, so you can always find my elaborated FF-recommendations there.

For Twitter-newcomers, who know me, but find it difficult to find interesting people to follow, this may be a useful starting point.

In selective cases I also plan to write a #FF post to put someone in the limelight. I intend to do the same with bloggers.

By the way I only include people with useful tweets on the lists, so people with great blogs but with not so interesting or very infrequent tweets won’t be included.
As time goes, I may also prune the list, because the number or quality of the tweets or my preference may change.

What is a good tweet? That is personal, but I think that people should be original, helpful, social and up to date and provide good information (with links) .

When you’re on Twitter you like you can follow my FF-list here:
http://twitter.com/laikas/followfridays-ff/

The Following people are included on my FF-list (listed chronologically according my tweet-timeline)
** means that I often have a chitchat or social talk with that person and/or that he/she is very helpful).

  1. @allergynotes , currently @drves (doctor, immunology, health 2.0, **) 2x
  2. @berci (doctor, scientist, **)
  3. @conorato (health 2.0)
  4. @shamsha (medlib, **)    3x
  5. @amcunningam (doctor, education, skeptic, **)  2x
  6. @pudliszek (medlib, **) 2x
  7. @eagledawg (medlib, **)  2x
  8. @pfanderson (medlib, geek, **)
  9. @digicmb (medlib, geek, NL, **)  2x
  10. @sarchet62 (lib, med. anthropologist, geek)
  11. @dreamingspires (publishing, Aussie, **)
  12. @staticnrg (survivor, health 2.0, science, **)
  13. @bonnycastle (education, **)
  14. @andrewspong (publishing, skeptic)
  15. @DrShock (doctor, psychi, NL, **)
  16. @aarontay (lib, geek)
  17. @MarilynMann (science, cancer survivor, lawyer, skeptic, pharma)
    Following tweets could not be traced back:
  18. @flutesUD (scientist, PhD-student, **)
  19. @palmdoc (doctor, geek)
  20. @doctorblogs (doctor, EBM, health 2.0)
  21. @bgaustin (EBM)
  22. @northerndoctor (doctor, GP, EBM, Skeptic)
  23. @Blue_Wode (EBM, Skeptic)
  24. @precordialthump (doctor, ICU, Aussie, **)
  25. @sandnsurf (doctor, ICU, Aussie, **)
  26. @bitethedust (Remote Pharmacist, Aussie, Art, **)
  27. @giustini (medlib, web 2.0)
  28. @jstaaks (lib, psycho, UBA, bieptweet, NL, **)
  29. @ENTHouse (doc, ENT, **)

Based on the Next #FollowFriday recommendations (as far as I could trace them back):





Cochrane 2.0 Workshop at the Cochrane Colloquium #CC2009

12 10 2009

Today Chris Mavergames and I held a workshop at the Cochrane Colloquium, entitled:  Web 2.0 for Cochrane (see previous post and abstract of the workshop)

First I gave an introduction into Medicine 2.0 and (thus) Web 2.0. Chris, Web Operations Manager and Information Architect of the Cochrane Collaboration, talked more about which Web 2.0 tools were already used by the Cochrane Collaboration and which Web 2.0 might be useful as such.

We had half an hour for discussion which was easily filled. There was no doubt about the usefulness of Web 2.0 for the Cochrane in this group. Therefore, there was ample room for discussing technical aspects, like:

  • Can you load your RSS feed of a PubMed search in Reference Manager? (According to Chris you can)
  • How can you deal with this lot of information (by following a specific subject, or not too much people – not many updates on a daily basis; you don’t have to follow it all, just pick up the headlines, when you can)
  • Are you involved in a Wiki that is successful? (it appears very difficult to involve people)
  • What happens if people comment or upload picture on facebook (of the Cochrane collaboration) in an appropriate way (Chris: didn’t happen, but you have to check and remove them)
  • How do you follow tweets (we showed Tweetdeckhashtags # and #followfridays)
  • What is the worst thing that happened to you (regarding web 2.0)? Chris and I thought a long time. Chris: that I revealed something that wasn’t officially public yet (though appeared to be o.k.). Me: spam (but I remove it/don’t approve it).
    Later I remembered two better (worse) examples, like the “Clinical Reader” social misbehaviour, a good example of how “branding” should not be done, and sites that publish top 50 and 100 list of bloggers just to get more traffic to their spam websites

Below is my presentation on Slideshare.

The (awful) green blackgound color indicates I went “live” on the web. As a reminder of what I did, I included some screendumps.

The current workshop was just meant to introduce and discuss Medicine 2.0 and Cochrane 2.0.

I hope we have a vivid discussion Wednesday when the plenary lectures deal with Cochrane 2.0.

The answers to my question on Twitter

  1. Why Web 2.0 is useful? (or not)
  2. Why we need Cochrane 2.0? (or not)

can be found on Visibletweets (temporary) and saved as: Quoteurl.com/sggq0 (permanent selection).

I think it would be good when these points are taken into account during the Cochrane 2.0 plenary discussions.

* possible WIKI (+ links) might appear at http://medicine20.wetpaint.com/page/Cochrane+2.0

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Beware of Top 50 “Great Tools to Double Check your Doctor” or whatever Lists.

1 09 2009

Just the other week I wrote a post “Vanity is the Quicksand of Reasoning: Beware of Top 100 and 50 lists!”

In short this post describes that (some) Top 100 etc lists may not be as useful or innocent as they seem. Some of these lists are created by real scam-sites, who’s only goal is to make money via click-troughs and to get as much traffic as possible, via YOU (and me)!

The scam appears in many guises.

  1. As submissions for a  blog carnival, i.e. 100-weight-loss-tips-tricks.
  2. An offer of a health care student who asks you to do a guest post (you only have to link back to his/her site).
  3. In the form of a mail, dropping you a quick line that you’re included in a top 100 list, possibly worth mentioning to your audience.
  4. You just noticed a top 100 list with excellent sites, worth mentioning on Twitter or Friendfeed, so your followers become aware of the sites and pass the message.

The first two are pretty obvious scam. The latter two are more difficult to see through.

Why do I write another post? Because it happened again, today. And I think I should bring the message home more clearly.

Below you see what happens. Berci has found a list with 50 great tools to “Double check your Doctor”. He tweets the link to what he considers a great resource list, and in no time the message and the link are tweeted several times. Some people also post a link on their blog.

  1. Bertalan Meskó
    Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  2. Liza Sisler
    lizasisler Good resource list RT @Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  3. Bart Collet
    bart RT @Berci: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  4. Guy Therrien
    gtherrien RT @bart: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor – Online Nursing Classes http://ff.im/-7q9pK
  5. zorgbeheer
    zorgbeheer DELI 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor – Online Nursing Classes: You probably know that Googling yo.. http://bit.ly/n1NXc
  6. ekettell
    ekettell RT@Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  7. Robert L. Oakes
    RobertLOakes RT @Berci: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA (via @ahier)
  8. dr. Horváth Tamás
    ENTHouse RT @Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  9. Sagar Satapathy
    sagar13d 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor. URL: http://tinyurl.com/mlmf47

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

Finally this will result in more traffic to the website onlinenursingclasses and a higher rank in Google.

Indeed 12 hours after Berci’s tweet, searching for “50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor” (between quotes) gives just 21 hits (similar hits not shown), many of which can be traced back to the twitter posts.
All but one are positive: the last hit is my warning, which was only received by ahier and TheSofa. Ahier deleted his original positive tweet from Twitter.

Also worrying is that the spam site was bookmarked by various Stumble upon visitors. And that the one person that made the Stumble upon review also “liked” similar sites, like Online Classes and Learn Gasms. So probably a whole team takes care that the site is socially bookmarked. When several people “like” a site others may be attracted to the site as well. That is the principle of social bookmarking sites. And you and I do the rest….

1-9-2009 0-55-13 Google results 50 great tools

Why is this bad? You can read more in my previous post or in the post “Affiliate sites” at Ellie ❤ Libraries.
In addition, Shamsha brought another post to my attention, again from a librarian:

Top 100 Librarian Friendfeeds to follow at cheapie online degrees com at Tame the Web.com.

which refers to

http://www.librarian.net/stax/2970/why-i-dont-accept-guest-posts-from-spammers-or-link-to-them/

Tame the web gives some very good advice

I sometimes see other libloggers linking to sites like these and I have a word of advice: don’t. When we link to low-content sites from our high-content sites, we are telling Google and everyone that we think that the site we are linking to is in some way authoritative, even if we’re saying they’re dirty scammers. We’re helping their page rank and we’re slowly, infinitesimally almost, decreasing the value of Google and polluting the Internet pool in which we frequently swim. Don’t link to spammers.

How do you know that you can’t trust that particular site?

Well here are some features I’ve noticed (for the spam sites in “my”field)

  • All the sites that publicized such list were educational, mostly directed at nurses or other health practitioners. Some even end at org. Examples:
    • nursingschools.net
    • associatedegree.org
    • rncentral.com
    • Learn-gasm
    • onlineclasses.org
    • onlinenursepractitionerschools.com
    • searchenginecollege.com
    • collegedegree.com
    • ultrasoundtechnicianschools.org
    • phlebotomytechnicianschools.com
    • MiracleFruitPlus.com.
  • All sites have a Quick-degree, nursing degree, technician school etc finder. Mostly it is the only information at the ABOUT-section (?!)
  • The home page often contains prominent links (clicks) to Kaplan University, University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and/or others.
  • People behind the site often approach you actively (below are some examples) to gain your interest.
  • It is unclear how the lists are made and who is behind it.
  • There is no real information, only lists and degree finders.

So spread the word! Be careful with those list. DON’T LINK TO THEM! And if you see a possible interesting list, first CHECK the site: WHO, WHY, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!

31-8-2009 21-23-07 online nursing

The degree finder at the about page

1-9-2009 1-32-11 about 100 list

Prominent links to some Universities

1-9-2009 2-30-23 universities online nursing

An example of a letter drawing your attention to a list

1-9-2009 2-56-49 hi we just posted an articleAn example of a letter asking to write a guest post.

31-8-2009 23-56-03 guest post

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An Online Birthday Party!

15 06 2009

15-6-2009 18-05-22 BD poes kaart kleinToday is my birthday. And although I stayed home with a headache and other small complaints, and although I don’t really celebrate it any longer (except for the real round figures, like 50-60), the day started out pretty bright just around midnight with all kinds of virtual birthday wishes.

It started with an e-card (left) from Ramona Bates, plastic surgeon and quilter from the USA (hence her blog Suture for a Living), followed by many other birthday wishes.

Robin of Survive the Journey was so kind to send a song via blip.fm and then to organize a “twitter-party” by using the twitter-tool QuoteURL I had just reviewed on my blog (see here).

The start of the Twitter party  is shown below. Here is the link: http://www.quoteurl.com/r1e27

Suture for a Living

  1. rlbates
  2. drval
    drval Happy Birthday to @laikas, our favorite Dutch medical librarian. 🙂
  3. Ves Dimov, M.D.
  4. Deirdre
  5. Vijay
    scanman @laikas Happy Birthday Jacqueline 🙂
  6. Laika (Jacqueline)
    laikas @scanman: @laikas Happy Birthday Jacqueline 🙂 Thanks vijay. Wish we could have a Twitter birthday party with cake or so.
  7. Marilyn Mann
  8. Laika (Jacqueline)
    laikas @MarilynMann thanks Marilyn. It is very nice to begin your birthday with all those kind birthday-twishes.
  9. Robin
    staticnrg @Laikas Oh, happy birthday!! Hope it is a wonderful one!! ♫ http://blip.fm/~88du0
  10. Laika (Jacqueline)
    laikas @staticnrg: “@Laikas Oh, happy birthday!! Hope it is a wonderful one!!” – Well the start is all right – thnx! ♫ http://blip.fm/~88e8a

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl (pity that WordPress transforms the style)

Later I received more birthday and get-well wishes from Twitter, Hyves, Facebook, and Fabulously 40 (and beyond). I even received a e-card with “happy birthday” in Chinese!happy-birthday in chinese

Although my friends are virtual (?) and the cards and wishes are virtual, it feels like I’m having a real birthday party with real friends. The only thing that was missing was real coffee, cake or wine. 😉

15-6-2009 18-29-23 tweet rlbates





Visualization of Twitter Networks: Mailana

26 03 2009

Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time. It has become my major social networking and information tool.

There are many Twitter Tools and API’s around. Many can be regarded as gadgets, nice to use, once, twice, thrice and ….then to forget. Some of the tools that I’ve bookmarked:

Some of these tools are just for fun, others (the last 3 for instance) tell you something about somebody’s twitter network or tweets.
In the last category a new tool has just been launched: Top Twitter Friends on http://twitter.mailana.com/. It is meant to answer the questions: Who do you talk to most often on Twitter? Who are your closest friends (BFF’s)? and What does your social network look like? But it gives also tips on who you should follow, how to find friends in your neighborhood (not successful in my hands) and to find a network of people talking about a certain topic.

optionsI like this tool very much, because it visualizes the network of your relevant contacts and their contacts. My present network looks like this:

laikas-network1

I’m automatically in the center. The thicker the threads with people, the more conversations you had with them. DM’s (direct messages) are excluded. When you pass your mouse over a portrait all rays starting from there color red. Within your network, other networks may be visible. For instance, in my network you see a “Dutch community” (wowter, gbierens, essen2punt0 etc) and an Australian one (@dreamingspires, @sandnsurf, bitethedust). Some people are pivots themselves: like @mikehawker and @scanman.
You can see anyone’s network by clicking a portrait or typing a name.

A list of your 10 closest “friends” is also shown. My closest “friend” is symtym, runners up are the librarians @pudliszek and @shamsha. And there is a list of 10 suggestions as well.

Finally you can make a map of conversations. The following map was created by searching for the hashtag #zorg20 (a dutch health 2.0 meeting). It will be no surprise that the organizer @zorg2.0 is almost in the center.

zorg-20

This tool looks really awesome.
However, it makes you realize that all your tweets and follows are charted. Can this be used to pick up people’s conversation at certain topics? Can it be misused?
I just wondered when I noticed that this system is driven by Mailana social network analysis system (see demo here). This system enables companies to find out valuable hidden information in company e-mails. As shown in the demo, you can search for a company name in Mailana and find which employees mail most about it. You even get a wordcloud on basis of which you can decide who gives you the most valuable information. It is easy to see how that can be used and misused in a company. Would you like your email to become searchable? I wouldn’t! Twitter is an open communication network, but still…..

In this respect it is interesting that according Danielle of the Health Informaticist:

….while the ‘laypeople’ are chattering away (…) a company called Salesforce.com has launched a product to allow “companies to search, monitor and join conversations taking place on Twitter directly in the Service Cloud.”(for more details see post here).

Gives me a bit uncomfortable feeling.

HATTIP: @drval (





Wouter’s Request: the 6 W’s of this blog

2 10 2008

Wowter asked appr. 90 dutch library bloggers, including me, to write about our motives for blogging, who whe reach, whether we succeed in building a community, which posts we like most etc. A carnival of excerpts will be presented at a Dutch congres on Library 2.0 (OCN2008).

Of course I will accept his invitation, because:

  • When Wowter (one of the most well known Dutch librarybloggers and an advocate of library 2.0) asks you something, you do it (albeit late)
  • Wowter (and Dymphie) were the first non-Spoetnik-course members responding to my posts, giving tips (making lists is one of them 😉 ) and encouraging me to keep on and to look further than your own blog.
  • Wowter was the 10.000st visitor of this blog
  • foremost: it is good to ponder from time to time why and how you do the things you do.

Thus, here are the 5W’s (well 6) of this blog:

WHY?

This blog was started as part of the course SPOETNIK on NEW internet communication methods for librarians. I found many of the web 2.0 tools very useful, especially RSS. Blogging itself was FUN, so I spend most of the course time on blogging. There was a small group of active Spoetnik bloggers who responded to each other. Most of the posts were about the course exercises, or we were just kidding with each other. That was great. But as the course proceeded, I realized that if I was to continue blogging, I should write about other subjects as well and I should build another community. I started to write about….

WHAT?…

Medical librarianship, because that is where my heart is. In fact, that is a mixture of two subjects already: medicine and librarianship. I’m specialized in Evidence Based Medicine and Searching: those are the main topics. I worked for more than 15 years as a scientists: science (and especially immunology, genetics, cancer, nutrition) is a favorite subject as well. I have (secondary) Addison’s Disease, so that inspires me to write about patient-related matter. Furthermore I like to continue writing about web 2.0 tools. Seldomly I will blog about real personal things. But I do plan to write about certain things that happened, little stories, that relate to my life as a scientist, librarian or patient. For instance “the radioactive rat” will be an upcoming story.
My posts are mostly of the “review kind”, they are quite long, go in depth and are “cramped with visuals” according to some and “as easy to skip as to read it all”.
WHO?
My first public consisted of Spoetnik collegues and some interested Dutch librarians 2.0: Dymphie and Wowter. In the beginning I felt like Berci expressed in his slide “Once upon a time on WordPress.com”: very lonely. Similar to Berci, this situation changed when I started to write in English. Till recently I wrote both in English and Dutch, but from now on I will concentrate on English: it costs too much time, most Dutch read English, and since the Spoetnik Cours is over, I get few Dutch responses anyway.
Since I write about many topics I get a broad public. This blog does well in the ratings. It is in the Top 50 Health 2.0 Blogs list ( see here), was high in the Medblog top 25, got a very good critique from the Library + Information Gazette“ (see this post) and a high technorati ranking (up to 43, now 41).

But does this mean I have build up a community? Not necessarily. Although people link to my blog, I don’t get many comments and there aren’t many feed subscribers. That is possibly the consequence of writing in depth about many specialistic topics. For people just interested in either medicine, library or web 2.0 tools there may be too many posts about trivial things (the other subjects). Furthermore, although I do participate in medicine blog carnivals, I think that it is hard for a medical librarian to become part of the medical community.

Similar to many other blogs, the audience of this blog are mainly other bloggers (in the health field), as well as non-blogging medical librarians (including colleagues) and people googling. Many Dutch colleagues read my blog, but few have an RSS-feed or participate in blog discussions. However,that may be general for bloggers: they tend to link more than discuss.
In the first months I got a maximum of 30-50 visitors per day, and sometimes 2-5 during the weekend. Now I regularly get 100 visitors a day and in the weekend no less than 30. My top day was in June: 192 visitors.

WHICH?

Which posts are most successful and which one is my favorite? I guess I like the mixture the most.
If I have to choose I prefer those posts that discuss in depths the ins and outs of a topic (be it health, library or science-related), especially if they make a difficult health subject understandable to many, e.g. “The best study design… for dummies” and “The (un)usefulness of regular breast exam.”
The series about the PubMed: Past, Present And Future, was the most visited, with PART II being viewed 388 times and PART I: 200 times
WHERE?

About 95% of my posts are written at home. I do consult Twitter and the statistictics of my blog regularly, also at work.

WHEN?
Most posts take a lot of time. Keeping up with your sources, browsing, sifting ideas, reading more about the subject, writing, putting figures in the posts (not easy in WordPress), making links, translating into Dutch. It takes me 1 hour – 1 day for one post. I spend 10-20 hours per week on blogging (in the broad sense of the word)

WHY Continue?

  • I like writing
  • I hope to stir up some discussion (but I’m happy with people reading or linking)
  • I learn a lot of other bloggers, microblogging (twitter), RSS-feeds (also of Journals). Since I blog/RSS I keep much better informed and it inspires me to come up with new ideas.
  • By (micro)blogging I keep in touch with other bloggers
  • Some things need to be criticised.
  • Some things are good to call attention to.
  • Ideally, I would like to mix the knowledge and tips gathered elsewhere with my own knowledge and pass it through in a digestible way to others: doctors, nurses, patients, scientists, libarians, teachers
  • I hope that by blogging about health 2.0 I can enthuse non-blogging health- or library experts for web 2.0. Eventually I may even want to give courses on medicine 2.0 or to use web 2.0 tools for education (medical students, staff)

(possibly I’m too late for the carnival, but this post was written under harsh condition. Lying sideways on a sofa in a public room, somewhere in Germany, because there is no wifi at my room, and the batteries only hold for 15 minutes, and the large wooden table is too far from the electric point. Well the musing was useful anyway…)