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20 emergency physicians with most followers on Twitter

I have been systematically following emergency physicians on Twitter for more than 3 years now thru my TwittER project. It all started in 2012 when I analysed around 600 Twitter account by emergency physicians. This report has been published in EMJ – Analysis of emergency physicians’ Twitter accounts.

Since 2012 I have added many more emergency physicians to the list, and I am currently following almost 1500. I believe this to be the biggest curated list of emergency physicians on Planet Earth.

Here are the top 20 emergency physicians with most followers on Twitter and some stats about their accounts. Tables and graphs are interactive. For example your can sort data in tables by clicking on header descriptions.


Directory of Emergency Physicians on Twitter

twitter researcher
I just launched a new mini website called TwittER ReaserchER. It is essentially a directory of emergency physicians across the globe who are using Twitter. The project started during research for an article about use of Twitter among emergency physicians. I started tweeting in 2008, and at that time there were only but a few emergency docs out there, but now we managed to identify almost 700 of them. The results of the analysis we performed on their accounts are currently under review in Emergency Medicine Journal. Hopefully the article will be accepted and published soon, so I can share the results with you.

On the website you can find a list of all the emergency physicians we were able to find using Twitter. Each user is represented by his/hers profile picture. If you click on it, you will be taken to the user’s Twitter profile. The list is constantly updating, and if you are an emergency physician using Twitter or know someone who is, please follow @research_er to get included. On this account we also created lists organizing emergency physicians according to the year they started tweeting. You can easily subscribe to these lists.

On the site you can also see the timeline of tweets from all the emergency physicians. It is updating every hour, so you can use it to follow what emergency physicians are saying on Twitter. This way you can follow them, without even being a registered Twitter user, which you should be!

Hope you like the site. I will try to improve it and add more features soon. Of course, your ideas are always welcomed.

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Interview with Lee Aase

Maybe you read the post I recently wrote about a slideshow describing how Mayo Clinic utilizes social media in fantastic ways. This slideshow was created by Lee Aase (@LeeAase), who happens to be manager of Syndication and Social Media for Mayo Clinic (@mayoclinic). Mr. Aase, despite his busy schedule, was kind enough to answer some of my questions that might be of interest to you.

I.K. Please tell me a little bit more about your background and how you ended up manager of Syndication and Social Media for Mayo Clinic?

L.A. I started working in media relations for Mayo Clinic in April 2000, focusing on cardiology, but in 2003 became manager of our media relations team. We have produced syndicated news packages for local TV stations since 2000, and for local radio stations since 2004. In 2005 we converted the mp3 files from the radio program into a podcast series, which became quite popular. That paved the way for us to do longer podcasts, a Facebook fan page and blogs, and eventually hiring another manager for national media relations, while I focus on our syndicated products and the social media platforms.

I.K. What are your duties and responsibilities? Could you maybe describe your regular work day?

L.A. My main duties are to lead the team the produces our syndicated news content and produces tailored, extended content for social media platforms. Our role is not to “do” all the social media, but to be a catalyst to involve others. We provide training for public affairs staff so they can incorporate social media strategies into all of their communications projects, and so that they in turn can offer guidance to other employees. A major part of my job is “evangelism” for our Mayo Clinic social media platforms, both internally and externally.

I.K. I saw from your slideshow that Mayo Clinic utilizes podcasts, blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Would you be so kind to bring closer to us the processes which occur in the background? Just from a practical perspective, how does this function? How many people are working on maintaining all of these services, how independent are they?

L.A. We have a small core team (about 3 people) who facilitate involvement from others in these platforms. For example, someone outside the team who covers the cardiology beat may interview one of our physicians about research coming in a journal, and will do that on a consumer-grade video camera. This will be part of a post on the News Blog, and the video will be used to help journalists better understand the story and to communicate directly with consumers and patients. Our core team does the video editing to ensure quality. In this way, social media isn’t another “silo” but is instead incorporated into all communications, involving our whole department.

I.K. Your latest creation is Sharing Mayo Clinic, a hub to integrate Mayo social media, where your patients, families, friends and employees can share their stories. How do your employees respond to such opportunities? Do you have some numbers, statistics regarding their involvement that you can share with us?

L.A. We have been pleased with the response to Sharing Mayo Clinic, as we have had more than 100 posts and over 600 comments. Traffic built steadily until last month, when one of the featured videos went “viral” and has been viewed more than 2.7 million times on YouTube. This was certainly unexpected but has accelerated growth of the blog, which only launched in late January of this year.

I.K. You are also the Chancellor of Social Media University, which is a post-secondary educational institution dedicated to providing practical, hands-on training in social media to lifelong learners. Sounds really interesting. How did you come up with the idea to start it? How are you happy with the response so far?

L.A. It started as my personal blog, which I used to get practical experience in blogging and social media so I could see how to apply the tools for Mayo. As I began doing presentations about my work, it soon became apparent there was a need — particularly for mid-career professionals — to learn about social media. So I reorganized my blog and re-branded it as SMUG (Social Media University, Global) as a fun, humorous way to learn serious work-related applications for social media tools. By creating a series of curricula covering the major platforms, it lets people work through and learn at their own pace in a logical order, such as Podcasting 101, 102, 103 etc. I’ve been thrilled with the response, with SMUGgles (as we call our student body) from every continent except Antarctica. It’s neat that through social media someone from a small city in Minnesota can interact with people from all over the world.


How Mayo Clinic utilizes Web 2.0

Lee Aase (@LeeAase) is manager of Syndication and Social Media for Mayo Clinic. During Community 2.0 Conference which recently took place in San Francisco, he presented how Mayo Clinic has been taking advantage of Web 2.0 and social media. Take a look at his slide show to learn how Mayo Clinic fantastically promotes itself with basically no financial investments.


How is Twitter influencing public health

Among the people I follow on Twitter there are some who seam to be always present. They have a large number of updates, which are more or less evenly distributed throughout the day. It is pretty obvious that these people basically spend their entire days on Twitter. How they manage to do this is a mystery to me, but right now I am interested in something else. I am interested how this affects their health. 

Sure you can use Twitter on your mobile device, like iPhone. You could maybe be standing while doing so, but probably not running. Still I believe people mainly use Twitter while sitting down in front of their computers. 

Number of Twitter users

The fact is that the official Twitter statistics are not available, so we can only speculate about the actual number of users. In March 2008, TechCrunch presented Twitter usage stats which they claimed originated from a source close to the company. At that time Twitter had around 1 million users out of which 200 000 were active every week, sending 3 million tweets per day (15 tweets user/day). These numbers cannot possibility still be the same, because numerous parameters show that Twitter has seen huge growth since last year. According to Compete, number of Twitter visitors grew astounding 752% in 2008. As a result Twitter had over 19 million unique visitors in April 2009. Does this mean Twitter has 19 million user? Yes, No? More, Less? I don’t know, probably more. Daniel Scocco from Daily Blog Tips thinks that there are around 5 million users, based on the unique user ID that each account has. On the other hand, eMarketer estimates there were roughly 6 million Twitter users in the US in 2008. A lot of different figures, so let’s use the most pessimistic one for our analysis, 5 million users sending 75 million tweets per day.

Time spent on Twitter

Twitter users do two things, they tweet and read other people’s tweets. Let’s say that the average Twitter user types at the speed of 70 words per minute and that there are on average 20 words per tweet (5 characters per word, 100 characters per tweet). This means that the average time to type a single tweet is 30 seconds. If we were to include time needed to let’s say reread the tweet before posting, check spelling or paste a link, average time needed to post a tweet would probably be longer. However, since we are underestimating things from the begging, let’s go ahead with 30 seconds.

How much time do all Twitter users spend per day writing tweets?

number of tweets per day x time needed to type a single tweet
75 million x 30 seconds
= 2 250 000 000 seconds
= 37 500 000 minutes
= 625 000 hours
= 2 6041 days
= 71 years

How much time do all Twitter users spend per day reading tweets?

As I mentioned Twitter users also read other people’s tweets, not just write their own. I for example spend more time reading tweets than writing my own. However, let’s say that twitterers spend the equal amount of time reading tweets, as they do writing them.
= 2 250 000 000 seconds
= 37 500 000 minutes
= 625 000 hours
= 2 6041 days
= 71 years

How much time in total do all twitterers spend per day on Twitter?

The most pessimistic estimate would be that all twitterers together spend 1 250 000 minutes or 5 2082 days on Twitter every day.

Incredible figure, isn’t is? Just keep in mind that it is probably underestimated. First of all, we underestimated the number of users and then also the amount of time average users spend on Twitter. There is more activity on Twitter, like direct/private messages, which is not included in this calculation. However, this figure is still nothing compared to time spent watching TV. Clay Shirky, whose brilliant keynote you must watch, has calculated that in the US alone TV viewers spend 200 billion hours per year watching TV. Twitter users spend only little bit more than 228 million hours per year. But, there are 5 million Twitter users included in my calculation and 290 million TV viewers in the US. If there were 290 million twitterers, they would spend 12 billion hours per year on Twitter.

Is the majority of twitterers taking TV viewing time and transferring it to Twitter? Or do they still watch the same amount of TV plus using Twitter? Maybe they are watching TV and tweeting at the same time? Who knows? But there is a lot of sitting going on. According to my calculation, average twitterer sits in front of his/hers computer using Twitter 15 minutes every day. That isn’t so bad. Nevertheless there are those which I mentioned in the first paragraph that seem to be spending 12 or more hours on Twitter. People like @surgee. He has been using Twitter for 294 days during which he posted 120 180 updates. This means he spent 3,542,970 Seconds or 59,050 Minutes or 984.16 Hours or 41.01 days only writing tweets. This is something around 3.5 hours a day. Another underestimation if you ask me, cause you definitely need to spend more than 3.5 hours on Twitter to post 408 tweets each day. And if you take a quick look at Surgee’s Twitter stream, you will see he is basically there from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep. According to Tweetwasters, online application which calculates how much time twitterers have “wasted” on Twitter, he is the champion.

Impact on public health

No doubt, Twitter is contributing to the sedentary lifestyle. You have TV, all other stuff already on the Internet and now Twitter to allow your bum to get acquainted with your chair. Using Twitter while sitting will burn around 100 calories per hour. That means you will need about 5 hours to burn one McDonald’s Big Mac (570 calories). And if you are an average American, 37 hours to burn what you ate in one day. The FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) in the latest USA yearbook shows a per Capita Daily Consumption of 3,790 Calories for the 2000-2002 years. Sleeping on the other hand will burn 50-60 calories per hour, light exercise 250, lawn mowing 300, dancing to Rock and Roll music 400, jogging 600, and heavy running 700 calories per hour.

Twitter Kills

Should we be worried? Surgee, the twitter champion, appears slim and health on the photos. But there apart from obesity other disorders like heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and hypertension are also linked to sedentary lifestyle. And in addition, mood disorders are also more common in those with sedentary lifestyle, as well as substance use and abuse. There are some studies showing that sedentary lifestyle is even more dangerous than smoking. Do we need to put health warning messages on TVs, computers and Twitter just as we do on the packaging of cigarettes?

treadmill deskOK, don’t get all depressed. If you really cannot get off Twitter, I suggest Rock and Roll dancing while tweeting. Or maybe designing your own Treadmill Desk. This is the idea of Dr Levine from the Mayo Clinic, whose research revealed that on the average his subjects burned 100 extra calories every hour while walking slowly — at 1 mile per hour — than while sitting in a chair. Also, there are numerous fitness and nutrition experts on Twitter. Follow them for tips and inspiration. After all several studies have showed that the Internet can be excellent for delivery of weight loss programs. What ever you do, jut remember to invest at least an hour every day for your health. Get out, walk your dog, do yoga, whatever, just get off the Internet and Twitter.