5 Reasons Why Surgeons are better at Tweeting

I wrote this on 20th November 2011 on my previous anonymous blog. This was meant to poke fun at surgeons and Twitter. what do you think today?

A/Prof Katherine Chretien and team has recently published a landmark study on Twitter Physicians. It was aptly titled “Physicians on Twitter”, published in The Journal of The American Medical Association, February 9, 2011—Vol 305, No. 6, pg 566-568. There are some very interesting statistics there. Definitely an article worth a read particularly if you’re interested in the use of Social Media in Health Care.

There have been many correspondences and blog posts written in response to the article. Most of them have indicated the good progress that doctors and medical professionals are making in utilising tools such as Twitter, Facebook and the like.

When the article detailed the profile of doctors on Twitter, there were a few surprises.

Guess which group of medical specialists Twitter the most?


That’s right! There are more Tweeting Surgeons than other specialties. (Read the article for the rest of the specialties and see how your specialty ranks.) I found this a little interesting because we surgeons often work longer hours and are usually stuck in theatre doing stuff. When do we find the time to Twitter?

So I started to analyse my own tweeting habits, and asked myself why Surgeons tweet more than other specialties.

I think I’ve found 5 reasons why Surgeons are Superior at Tweeting. Here are the reasons:

5. We are always waiting for theatre.

I don’t know how it works in your corner of the world, but here in Australia, taking someone to theatre is like getting a bride to the church altar. We have to book the church, get the certificates signed, get all the equipments, romance the anaesthetists (who are usually the atheists who do not believe the surgery need to happen and withhold their blessings), bla.. bla.. bla… After all the hard work of organising theatre,  we wait till the cows come home or pigs fly. So we surgeons end up having lots of times twiddling our thumbs waiting. We wait, therefore we tweet.

4. We are brief, succinct, and to the point.

We are simple people. We’re not multifactorial. We can’t compute the cosmological reasons why someone should be on omeprazole instead of esomeprazole in some situations. Hence, our simplicity limits our thought processes to 140 characters only. Perfect for twitter.

3. We’re more comfortable speaking out when no one talks back.

The beauty of twitter is that there are so many conversations going on at any one time. It’s like a college party. So many tangential conversations, and in the morning you can’t remember who you’ve talked to last night. Surgeons, being surgeons, love to impress people, and perhaps we like to impress but not really want to be spoken back to. Perfect communication style for twitter. Follow me, and I might follow back, maybe.

2. We are not comfortable socializing with real people.

We like our consults brief,  our operations long, our patients asleep, and our anaesthetists asleep as well. Just like twitter.

And the top reason why Surgeons are More Superior at Tweeting:

1. We have the most outstanding, intelligent and witty one liners.

Perfect for twitter. Some call it sarcasm, others call it irony. We say, witty.

Now if you are a surgeon, any other reasons you are better at Twitter compared to your non-surgical colleagues? If you’re not a surgeon, aren’t we right?