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Healthcare Hashtags: Monitoring Health Conversations in the Twitterverse

Healthcare Hashtags: Monitoring Health Conversations in the Twitterverse

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

I follow more than 1,400 people on Twitter, many of them journalists and health policy folks, via our own Twitter feed @ReportingHealth. As you can imagine, it can be tough to mine all that chatter for story ideas and useful information for your work. There are plenty of Twitter clients to help, but I also like monitoring hashtags, which are basically keywords for your tweets.

That's why I was delighted to run across Symplur's Healthcare Hashtags website, which aggregates and translates frequently used health-related hashtags, which are often incomprehensible acronyms (I'm looking at you, #s4pm and #CoRDSchat).

healthcare hashtags, reporting on health, Twitter, health journalism, barbara feder ostrov

More importantly, the site, operated by the social media consulting firm Symplur, tells you which health hashtags are popular and which have the most comments, indicating lively conversations or Twitter chats. It also offers hashtags on diseases and conferences and a tweet chat calendar, offering a quick way to keep up with what's new. Tomorrow, for example, you could drop in on 15 different chats ranging from eldercare to dentistry to medical devices. The site often identifies leaders of tweet chats and online communities centering on hashtags, which is helpful for identifying potential sources. Overall trending topics tend to be heavy on the health information technology and health social media sectors, but the disease hashtag list is useful for a more consumer-focused view, and it includes which disease hashtags are trending.

I like how the site translates the hashtags (#SLE = Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but wish it would take you directly to Twitter to see the conversation. A minor nit, though, for a very useful guide to health in the Twitterverse.

What hashtags do you follow for your work? Is following hashtags worth the time it takes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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Thank you for taking the time to share our "Healthcare Hashtag Project" with your readers, Barbara! We're glad that you find it to be useful. Our hope is to invite exploration and to help connect people with common interests in the online healthcare space. Recently we expanded the ability to explore "topics" in order to see the many different hashtags associated with them, and to identify the most frequently mentioned individuals in the many conversations centered around each topic. Come back often as we're frequently adding new features ... and without question new hashtags!

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