#Hashtags are a robust means of tracking or tagging information on Twitter. They help you manage the fire hose-like nature of the constant stream of information on Twitter. Conferences, tweet-chats, and general topics of discussion all benefit from the use of hashtags. Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) of the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT), and the Private Practice Section of the APTA all have hashtags surrounding their conferences. The conference acronym is usually followed by the year. For example, #CSM2013, #AAOMPT13 (No AAOMPT conference this year because of IFOMPT Conference), and #PPS2012. Functionally, hashtags group tweets by keywords. For those not familiar check out Twitter’s help page what are hashtags? or the wikipedia page hashtag.
Personally, I have leveraged hashtags to follow and contribute to discussion surrounding conferences (CSM and AAOMPT for example). I unfortunately was not able to attend #AAOMPT11 or #IFOMPT12. But I did learn, discuss, and contribute via the conference hashtags. The # creates potential for discussion and collaboration on a topic, course, conference, or issue. Unable to attend a conference or event? Participate virtually! Busy during the time of a tweet chat? No problem, you can search the hashtag later to read, respond, and continue the conversation. Wondering what individuals are saying on a particular topic? Search that hashtag. Storify even lets you create and save conversations or stories based on certain parameters.
Outside the PT Sphere
@HealtSocMed claims #HCSM (Healthcare Communications and Social Media) forumlated in January of 2009 was the first global healthcare tweet chat. Other non physical therapy specific hashtags or tweet chats include #SocialOrtho, #SportsSafety, #mHealth, and #MedEd.
Physical Therapy Hashtags
Established physical therapy hashtags include #physicaltherapy, #physicaltherapist, and #physioPT. Kendra Gagnon PT, PhD (@KendraPedPT) who has guest blogged here on PTTT, utilizes hashtags in entry level DPT education. Her students tweeted #WhyIchosePT to communicate their reasons for pursuing the profession of physical therapy. Her class used #PTprof throughout the semester. On her blog, Kendra discusses social media communication as a part of the curriculum in a Professional Interactions course.
In some cases hashtags are utilized both as a tweetchat and to track discussion on a particular topic. #SolvePT is an example with weekly tweet chats on Tuesdays from 9-10PM Eastern Standard Time as well as ongoing discussion related to issues pertinent to the physical therapy profession. @SnippetPhysTher (Selena Horner, PT, GCS) discusses the emergence of the hashtag and the tweet chat. The #SolvePT hashtag continues to be an interesting conversation regarding physical therapy.
Call to Action
I propose a #physicaltherapy hashtag project. As a physical therapy community lets discuss specific hashtags for practice areas, topics, and ideas. I recently began using #AcutePT to tag some tweets containing evidence and rationale for the physical therapist’s vital role in the acute care environment. The Healthcare Hashtag Project has curated content and hashtags relating to health care topics, specific tweet-chats, conferences, and even diseases!
Below are my proposed hashtags for the physical therapy profession in addition to what we currently utilize. What did I miss? Should we change the wording? Let’s get started…
Practice Areas: #AcutePT #CardioPulmPT #GeriatricPT #ManualTherapy #NeuroPT #OrthoPT #PainPT #PedsPT #SportsPT #WomensPT
#PTscience for research, evidence based practice, and critical thinking relating to physical therapy.
#PTAdvoc for physical therapy advocacy and legislative issues.
#bizPT for business and private practice topics.
#PTtech for information relating to technology and the physical therapist.
#DPTEd for topics relating to physical therapy education and educators, including clinical education.
Hashtags for education and student topics could include #PTedu or #PTschool. Rumor has it that #DPTstudent will emerge as a hash tag topic and potential chat spear headed some of the student leaders in social media. You know @MattDeBole is at the center of that! Also check out @LaurenSPT as well.
And last, but certainly not least, #PTHero for inspiration and greatness within our vital profession.