education physiotherapy research social media

Twitter in undergraduate physiotherapy research

I’ve spent the past few weeks experimenting with Twitter, a micro-blogging service that allows users to post short “tweets” of up to 140 characters.  I’ve been following it’s development for a year or so but never really got it.  I finally saw it’s potential in education when I realised that it’s only a small leap from spreading news quickly, to spreading ideas quickly.  Combined with a URL shortening service like, it makes a great channel for concise communication.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks with two of my undergraduate physiotherapy research groups to post links to articles and guidelines I think they may find useful.  So far, it’s worked quite well.  I can quickly post a link to something I come across without the hassle of opening an email client (I post mainly from a Firefox sidebar plugin called Twitbin), and they get immediate notification (if they’re online) of my post.  They can then reply immediately (they don’t, but they can).  I’m going to evaluate it’s use as an alternative channel for communication in the physiotherapy department.  If it works well I’d like to try an open source, self-hosted alternative to Twitter, called Laconica.

You can see some of my tweets (posts from Twitter) in the sidebar of this blog, or at

Here are some links from this post:
Wikipedia article on Twitter
Twitbin (Firefox sidebar plugin) (URL shortening service)
Laconica (open source micro-blogging platform)

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.