Using Twitter is the great new foray of medical education. It is free and easily accessible, and information is available as short “bite-sized” tweets. Threading together multiple tweets to create a tweetorial is one popular method to reach and educate learners (1) (Figure 1). Beyond dissemination of knowledge, tweetorials are also seen as a tool to stimulate medical curiosity, which has the added benefits of encouraging independent study and critical thinking (2, 3). However, given the lack of definitive studies linking social media and educational outcomes, this begs the question of how to best maximize the educational value of tweetorials (4–6).
For creators, a few tips are provided, but it is important to plan a tweetorial just as you would a lecture (Table 1). First, identify your target audience. Next, pick a topic, and define learning objectives (Figure 2). More specialized topics will narrow your audience, but broader topics may lend to a lengthier tweetorial, which may be off-putting to readers (1). When crafting your tweetorial, the first one or two tweets are the hooks to draw in your reader. The following tweets, or at most pair of tweets, should guide your reader and answer objectives. Your final summary tweet helps reiterate important concepts. A strong summary tweet can also inspire readers to go back and read tweets that they may have initially glossed over (1).
Despite your best efforts, the vast majority of readers will not make it past the first or even second tweet (1). The best tweetorial is a read tweetorial. Keep your reader engaged by making it interactive. Use polls, and respond to questions and replies. Provide visuals such as images, tables, figures, and GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format). Provide links to source material, additional reading, blogs, and YouTube videos. If you cannot find an appropriate table or figure, then consider making your own. Consider supplementing your tweetorial with a homemade animation, video, or audio recording. This has the added benefit of catering to different learning styles and further increasing your educational reach and retention (7).
As a tweetorial consumer, maximize your learning by really taking time to read a tweetorial. Look at the images and figures. Open links; read cited material. Think about the content, and ask questions. We encourage readers to read replies to the original thread and “Quote Tweets.” Use tweetorials as a springboard to supplement your current education, or dig deeper into a topic of interest.
Not every tweetorial will and should be the same. Just as educator styles vary, so will tweetorial styles. Remember to be engaging, and have fun! For more examples of tweetorials check out the Renal Fellow Network “Have a Nephrology Question? There Might Be a #Tweetorial for That!” post (https://www.renalfellow.org/have-a-question-there-might-be-a-tweetorial-for-that/)(8), and if you want to learn more about how to construct tweetorials, consider joining the Nephrology Social Media Collective.
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Breu AC. Why is a cow? Curiosity, tweetorials, and the return to why. N Engl J Med 2019; 381:1097–1098. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1906790
Sterling M, et al. The use of social media in graduate medical education: A systematic review. Acad Med 2017; 92:1043–1056. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001617
Tang Y, Hew KF. Using Twitter for education: Beneficial or simply a waste of time? Comput Educ 2017; 106:97–118. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360131516302469?via%3Dihub
Htay MNN, et al. Postgraduate students' perspective on using Twitter as a learning resource in higher education. J Educ Health Promot 2020; 9:61. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_321_18
Kauffman L, et al. #RadEd: How and why to use Twitter for online radiology education. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol 2021; 50:369–373. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2021.02.002
Renal Fellow Network. Have a Nephrology Question? There Might Be a #Tweetorial for That! [Internet]. 2019. Accessed July 24, 2021. https://www.renalfellow.org/have-a-question-there-might-be-atweetorial-for-that/