Micro blogging

Description

 Like blogs only shorter, a typical micro blog consists of only one or two sentences. Micro blogs services include Twitter. Twitter works by users “following” the regularly updated micro blogs (or “Tweets”) of others.  Commercial micro blogs are often used to promote services and products. In a health context it can be used to draw attention to a new health centre or service within a given locality. The most logical use of micro-blogging by the NHS would be to promote services or attain feedback from stakeholders.

Examples

  • North Tyne PCT use Twitter to advertise developments in services and provide information

Benefits and advantages

  • Micro-blogging sites are essentially free to the user
  • An effective way to get a particular message across
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Can be used to map trends in topics being talked about
  • Information is immediate, with news stories breaking on Twitter sometimes before the Mass Media report it

Risks and disadvantages

  • Many of the Micro-blogging sites have a limit of 140 characters per micro blog which may not be sufficient to get a particular message across
  • Although free, those following the micro-blog need to be signed up to the service
  • Once registered, it can be difficult to integrate micro blogging into your routine. Some mobile phone apps have been created to deal with this such as Tweetie and Tweetdeck
  • Users of micro-blogging are not a representative cross-section of society generally
  • Care needs to be given to how the micro-blogs are presented, how often they are posted and their purpose, getting it wrong can alienate users