It’s been a remarkable last couple of years for Twitter. When it launched, almost everybody questioned the real life value of a social network which restricted user messages to mere 140 characters. Since then, Twitter has been the epicenter of several political revolutions (Egypt, Libya and now, Nigeria), it’s served as a disaster management tool amid natural calamities like the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti and it continues to be an undeniable example of the true power of social media.
And now, Twitter is being hailed as a lifesaver. As per Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Twitter has serious potential to emerge as a modern age lifesaver by providing important health-related information to people during emergencies.
Researchers say Twitter users actively share vital information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and they frequently discuss this topic as part of tweets and DMs. There’s no doubt that Twitter is a leading avenue to respond to queries from the public and disseminate information and that’s how patients are now leveraging it in particularly in the areas of CPR training and lifesaving interventions such as therapeutic hypothermia.
Though it would be a long shot to call Twitter a lifesaver but I genuinely believe that Twitter is perhaps the well-suited social network to cater to such medical emergencies and here’s why.
Researchers say they’ve found 15,324 tweets involving cardiac arrest specific information. Out of these, 14 per cent referenced cardiac arrest events, with five per cent of those messages relating personal experiences with the condition and nine per cent representing users sharing information relating to arrest locations and treatment interventions and guidelines.
Quick & Meaningful
I’ve often said that Twitter thrives on simplicity. It’s a no non-sense social network where quick dispersal of information is all what matters. The 140 character limit enforces users to be meaningful in their conversations and that’s precisely what’s needed in medical emergencies. In fact, when it comes to real time information dispersal, Twitter ranks well ahead of Facebook and Google+.
As opposed to Facebook, Twitter provides multimodal access – there are tons of desktop as well as mobile apps which you can use. In contrast, other social networks are either limited to the web or offer only a handful of mobile apps.
Twitter isn’t glamorous like Facebook and entertaining like Google+. On the contrary, it’s all about the content (real time information) and how to best disseminate it effectively to a wider audience. Based on experience, I can safely bet that my Twitter audience on the whole is more mature than my followers on any other social network. In that context, I believe that Twitter is well-suited for such critical conditions.
Do you believe Twitter has the potential to emerge as a lifesaver? Or is it just another social network with little to offer for such emergency situations and why? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.
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