The HCLDR Tweetchat has been happening weekly since it debuted back in 2012. Joe Babaian and I have joked that these weekly tweetchats will continue to happen until the day comes when it is just the two of us chatting with each other.
There are no plans to sunset the HCLDR tweetchat.
Having said that, it is clear that there has been a shift away from Twitter. Even before Elon Musk took over the company, the number people joining Twitter had plateaued and many long-time users of the platform were spending less and less time on it. At first, this decline was mostly with celebrity users who found Instagram and TikTok more advantageous for audience-building. Other influencers followed.
When Elon Musk took over and began to change the platform and implement rather dubious platform restrictions (or opening up the platform in some cases), many users took the opportunity to leave the platform. The exodus, from what I can tell, has been more broad based.
At various conferences over the past 24 months, I have asked people about their use of Twitter. It used to be that 9 out of 10 people would say that they are actively using it. Recently, however, that number has declined drastically. I would say that now it’s more like 3 out of 10 people say they use the platform regularly (ie: more than once per week).
I still use Twitter regularly, but not nearly as much as I used to. I still live tweet sessions and keynotes while I am at conferences, but at many event, I feel like I’m the only one tweeting. I still read useful articles that people tweet out and I still use Twitter to DM friends I have met over the years.
Discovery is almost at zero
The one thing I feel about Twitter that has hit almost zero for me is the discovery of new people and new conversations on the platform. It is very rare that I find other interesting Health IT people and healthcare advocates to follow who have joined the platform in the last 3 years. Everyone I now connect with on Twitter is a veteran user.
I’m still discovering new people, but the frequency is about 1/10th of what it was when I first started using the platform. Some of that is because I’m now connected to so many people, but I think it more has to do with the lack of new users coming onto Twitter.
Regardless of the reason, I don’t feel that Twitter is the place where people go to discover new content or new conversations anymore.
The question is, where are they going…if anywhere?
One of the goals of the HCLDR tweetchat and community is to share information and to help spur action in healthcare. Our goals are platform independent, but for the most part we have been primarily a Twitter-based community.
Is it time for HCLDR to expand beyond Twitter and if so, what other platform makes sense?
If you look at the weekly tweetchat, you will see that It is very rare that we have new people joining the weekly #HCLDR discussion. Our participant numbers are also well below their peak 4 years ago. Again, I want to stress, this is completely fine. Joe and I don’t run HCLDR for the accolades or the followers. As I mentioned at the beginning, even if there is just 1 other person on the tweetchat, we’ll still be happy to host it.
BUT having said that, I feel we would be remiss if we didn’t at least consider other ways to engage the community.
That’s what I’d like to discuss with the HCLDR Community this week…what other platforms or ways should we seriously consider to engage with people passionate about healthcare?
A special note about conferences
In the past, the idea of an HCLDR conference has been brought up by members of the community. Although it was always fun to imagine such an event where members of this wonderful community could gather – it never made sense financially – especially since we wanted it to be low cost enough for patients to attend. Plus, there were already so many healthcare conferences on the calendar that we didn’t feel like we would attract many to an HCLDR event.
But maybe we need to consider moving towards something more akin to a webinar series? A podcast? A YouTube Live event? Or maybe it’s time to look at a platform like Discord or maybe LinkedIn is where we need to go.
Bring your ideas and comments to the next HCLDR Tweetchat on Tuesday May 9th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here). We will be discussing the following questions:
- Q1 Are you using Twitter the same now vs before? Are you using it less? More? Do you plan to change your use in the next 12 months?
- Q2 Is a community like HCLDR still needed and relevant? Do we still need to consider engaging the community or has the everyone moved on already?
- Q3 What other ways and other platforms should HCLDR consider to continue engaging with this wonderful community (and attract new people)?
- Q4 What should HCLDR learn from other online grass-roots communities? Please share examples if you have one.
Please note that this tweetchat is not about discussing whether or not you agree with Elon Musk’s politics or direction for Twitter. Instead this chat is about HCLDR and what other ways we should be engaging with the community.
Lomas, Natasha. “Twitter is dying”, TechCrunch, 28 March 2023, https://techcrunch.com/2023/03/28/twitter-is-dying/, accessed 7 May 2023
Ghaffary, Shirin. “Is Twitter finally dying?”, Vox, 15 April 2023, https://www.vox.com/technology/2023/4/15/23683554/twitter-dying-elon-musk-x-company, accessed 7 May 2023
Wile, Rob. “NPR quits Twitter, saying the platform is ‘undermining’ its credibility”, NBC News, 12 April 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/npr-quits-twitter-says-platform-undermining-credibility-rcna79322, accessed 7 May 2023
Dang, Sheila. “Exclusive: Twitter is losing its most active users, internal documents show”, Reuters, 26 October 2022, https://www.reuters.com/technology/exclusive-where-did-tweeters-go-twitter-is-losing-its-most-active-users-internal-2022-10-25/, accessed 7 May 2023
“The Ultimate Guide to Building an Online Community in 2023”, Mighty Networks Blog, https://www.mightynetworks.com/resources/how-to-build-an-online-community, accessed 7 May 2023
Photo by Jorge Urosa: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-text-on-a-black-background-9129526/