This Blog Post is an Elaborate Ploy, or, Reflections on Blogging and Tweeting about Health IT

A couple days ago a whole bunch of people began following me on Twitter. I watched the statistics climb. I refreshed the browser. I thought: “Darn ‘bots” and went about my business.


After a while I saw “10 HIT bloggers to follow on Twitter” tweeted and retweeted. I didn’t bother clicking through. But I did think: “I’ll be on that list someday.”


Eventually I started looking at Twitter profiles, and recent tweets, for these new followers. Remarkable! They didn’t seem like TwitterBots at all. I finally clicked on one of the “10 HIT bloggers to follow on Twitter” links. Know him. Follow her. Hey, that’s me! Ding!


(No, that’s not me. I’m further down. This is just the order they appeared in the article. In no “particular” order, mind you.)

Anyway, lots of folks dropped me lines through this blog’s contact form, for all sorts of interesting reasons. I’ve talked to some folks by phone (Hi @iHT2!). Educators. People with blogs. Founders and co-founders. Publishers.

All because I wrote, and tweeted, about things that interest me. Amazing!

By the way, I don’t automatically follow back. I honestly try to read every tweet of every tweep I follow, and I can’t read every tweet of every tweep who follows me. I wish I could! That said, over time, I do end up following folks who follow me but who I do not initially follow back. They retweet something I tweet, along with something funny, interesting, or even critical, if they back it up, often with a link that proves I’m wrong. It’s a little bit like when they followed me in the first place. Hmmm. Who’s that? What are they about? Oh yeah. I almost followed them. OK! This time I will!


I have to rebalance my who-I-follow portfolio once in a while, otherwise it creeps back up into the unmanageable zone. It’s painful. I hate unfollowing. All the more reason to have a reason to follow in the first place.


Rebalancing a portfolio is a pretty good analogy, though. One of the reasons you balance a portfolio of investments is to maximize return on investment while minimizing risk. What is the return on investment of following someone? Information, entertainment, opportunities for collaboration. I used to read a half a dozen newspapers and trade magazines a day. Now I don’t. If news is important, it finds me. It feels weird saying that. Gut check. I think it’s true.


What’s the risk of following someone? It’s mostly the opportunity cost of not following someone else. Just like, if you own a bunch of similar stocks, they’ll all tend to go up and down together; if you follow a bunch of similar tweeps, they’ll all tend to tweet, or retweet, similar things. So, for each area of interest, I try to find the best two or three folks who will make sure I don’t miss a thing. Why two or three, not just one? Simple reliability engineering.


(That’s me. The gadget on my hat is my “HatCam”.)

About being a “Blogger Who Tweets” (reminds me of the Knights Who Say Ni, don’t know why, just does. Blogger = White Knight? Tweets = Say Ni? Eh!). I used to blog a thousand words, once a week. I did it partly for search engine visibility. I created “link juice” that I could point wherever I wished. Whatever I linked to seemed to magically improve its search rank in Google, though only with respect the same or related key words I used in my blog posts. It’s great to be able to write about what you love to think about and talk about and have it do something concrete like move other websites up or down in Google.


I started tweeting as a way to update my blog from a smartphone on a beach vacation where I didn’t have a “real” computer! (Boy has the world changed since). If you read my original blog post (below) about why I got on Twitter, I didn’t have a clue about Twitter’s interactive nature. Oh well, lots of people keep doing things for different reasons than they started.

A Twitter Holiday: Sun, Sand, Surf, Smartphones, Short URLs, Social MEdia, and EMR Workflow Systems


I still agree with about half of what I said: distinguishing between informers and me-formers, tracking news in realtime, and livetweeting. On the other hand, I also said “Twitter is a way for me to interact with my blog.” Now Twitter is a way for me to interact with people. My Twitter handle used to be @chuckwebster, but now it’s @EHRworkflow (here’s instructions how to change your Twitter name without losing followers). I used a third-party URL shortener then, now I use my own at http://ehr.bz, where I also archive links content about BPM, healthcare, and, increasingly, clinical NLP (over 1300, so far).


On the other hand, I said…

“many of my future tweets will be about the same subjects I address here in the blog: EHR workflow systems, their usability, and the extraordinary potential for applying business process management techniques to improving healthcare processes.”

…which was pretty darn accurate.

This blog post’s title: “This Blog Post is an Elaborate Ploy”?

This blog post is an elaborate ploy to do what?

To get you to read it.

And…


P.S. Tweets from @HITNewsTweet…


…and @Michelle_writes….


Only fair. Thanks!

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