Some of you may have read the title of this post and laughed. After all, Twitter is supposed to be a dying medium, right?

I’ll admit it; I was skeptical when I got started, too. As a self-proclaimed “late adopter” (I didn’t join until 2016!), my ventures on Twitter began out of mere curiosity. I was attending a Twitter discussion at an American College of Cardiology (ACC) conference and thought, if this is where my colleagues hang out, what’s the harm in joining them? Little did I know my eyes would soon be opened to a whole new virtual world—one that would change my life for the better.

Fast-forward just two years later, and I am now considered one of the top ten women in cardiology on social media with over 4,000 Twitter followers. You may be saying to yourself: Who cares? I would have asked the same question two years ago. But now, I understand that there are real benefits—for me and for my patients—of this strategic and global network I have built. Here are just a few.

  1. Cardiology crowdsourcing. Second opinions are always valuable in the world of healthcare. Third, fourth, fifth (and so-forth) opinions are game-changing. Whether I’m taking a poll about industry trends or asking for technical advice on behalf of a patient, Twitter provides a forum to reach thousands of other physicians, experts, and thought leaders with the click of a button. It’s important to note that this method only works for me because I have strategically built a network of people in the cardiology field. I’m not simply asking a random group of strangers medical questions. My followers and those I follow are international medical professionals who are just as eager to share data and engage in thoughtful discussions as I am.
  2. Keeping up with news and studies. In this ever-evolving industry, it’s impossible to stay on top of every new piece of information that is published. Because I am so discerning about who I follow, my Twitter feed is always full of only the most relevant and reputable research. Skimming the headlines and summaries that my network provides is much more efficient than trying to tackle the never-ending pile of journals by my bed.
  3. New opportunities for collaboration. Believe it or not, I’ve made more real connections with industry professionals than I can name through Twitter. I’ve even received invitations to speak at events and opportunities to collaborate on papers. Plus, Twitter provides a unique and extremely valuable way for private practice and the academic world to intersect. Remember: the key to successful collaboration on social media is to provide real value. Your followers can detect a “spammy” tweet from miles away; keep it real and you will get the same in return.

Want to know more about how I use Twitter to meet and collaborate with colleagues? Join me! Follow @DrToniyaSingh and send me a message with your questions or comments.