How many hospitals are on Twitter? How do I network with other "Twittering" hospitals? What are other hospitals twittering about? The questions go on and on...
According to Ed Bennett's (www.ebennett.org) last update - there were 213 hospitals with Twitter accounts. As this number continues to grow (explode) - it will become increasingly difficult to manually track what hospitals are on Twitter. While this list is manageable, I strongly believe that we need to adopt some standardization of where we begin to track social media performance and R.O.I.
My question to the twittering hospital industry is - "why not use a free service to link all of us together?" - http://wefollow.com/twitter/hospital is such a service - I have absolutely no financial arrangement with wefollow - nor do I even know much about the company other than they do a very good job of tracking twitter users by industry (tag). As you will see - there are only 118 twitter users currently in their "hospital twitter users" database. Based upon Ed's list and seeing additional users come online in the past several weeks, I would anticipate that this number is approximately 400 today.
Try to think about this from your administrators office - as your social media computer time continues to increase - I would anticipate some questions from your C-suite. Get yourself prepared for these questions by proactively monitoring and reporting where your facility stands among the overall "Hospital Twitter Users" list on http://wefollow.com/twitter/hospital. You simply can drop you C-suite folks a quick email stating that your hospital is #27 on the list. The competitive nature of your C-suite will kick in and they will want to know where you stand as compared to your competitors.
Plus this service provides you with an excellent source for other twittering hospitals. I would highly encourage you to review what other hospitals are doing - are they reporting on overall health news? are they tweeting on health care reform issues?
In summary, I fully realize that Twitter is just one component of a social media campaign/initiative - but it is a very important piece. As social media continues to evolve in the hospital industry, we need standardization! As early adopters of this technology, let's set the pace and standards now for the future!