As Twitter Matures, Hospitals Harness its Power

Marianne Aiello, May 16, 2012

Over the past few months healthcare marketers have been testing the waters with the latest social media kid on the block, Pinterest. The excited-yet-cautious manner with which marketers are approaching this platform makes me nostalgic. It seems like only yesterday we were acting this way toward Twitter.

When Twitter launched in 2006, the general public approached it with more caution than excitement. Twitter is too limiting, they said, with just 140 characters. It breeds narcissism. It can't compete with Facebook. And what are these #hashtags, anyway?

But over time the critics quieted. To date, Twitter boasts more than 140 million active users, who generate 340 million tweets per day. It played a pivotal role in the Arab Spring and other political movements around the world. And it has won over marketers across all industries as an essential communications tool.

Last week, Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital live-broadcasted via Twitter, a procedure to remove a benign brain tumor from 21-year-old female.  Dr. Dong Kim, the surgeon who treated former U.S. Representative Gabriel Giffords (D-AZ) and his team used the hashtag #MHBrain for this groundbreaking event.


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