Focusing on tweetchats and research – #hcsm for Nov. 22, 2015

Normally, #hcsm has topics submitted by the community. This will be true for our upcoming chat on Sunday, November 22, 2015 (as always at 8pm CT) – but with a twist!

Peter Chai (@PeterRChai), Megan Ranney (@Meganranney), Ed Boyer, (@toxinnewengland) and Rochelle Rosen have submitted a set of topics about using tweetchats for research. The twist? The tweetchat itself will be part of an IRB-approved research study exploring more about using tweetchats for this purpose – and #hcsm participants will be the participants in the study, as well, unless you choose to opt out.

What you should know about the Nov. 22, 2015 tweetchat and participating (or opting out) of the research study:

  1. You can opt out of the research study, even if you still want to participate in this #hcsm chat! Just contact the researchers by Twitter (send a private message to one of the study investigators (@peterrchai, @toxinnewengland or @meganranney)) or by email ( within five days of November 22. If this happens, the study investigators will delete your tweets from the data set. 

    If you do participate in the Nov. 22, 2015 #hcsm chat and do not opt out, your tweets may be analyzed as part of the research study. 

  2. The purpose of this study is to describe how researchers can use twitter to advance focus groups on development of new technologies and interfaces.
  3. You can read more in the IRB-approved factsheet here.

What are the topics for the tweetchat on Nov. 22 and the research study?

If you’re familiar with #hcsm, you know that the moderator will send out topics throughout the chat. The moderating Twitter account, where the topics are announced, is @HealthSocMed (which is @DanaMLewis). The three topics are listed below, along with some additional context and questions that you may also want to answer during the relevant topic time.

TOPIC 1 – What is difference in researchers using tweets from tweetchat for research; vs creating a tweetchat *for* research purposes? #hcsm

* How should people be recruited for each?

* What are the pitfalls for each?

TOPIC 2 – Would you be comfortable participating in a tweetchat for health research? What would you be comfortable sharing vs. not? #hcsm

* Have you participated in a tweetchat for research in the past? What was your experience like?

* Would you change your tweets if you knew a researcher would be reviewing them?

TOPIC 3 – Twitter=public; research=bound by confidentiality. How do these concepts impact opportunities for research in tweetchats? #hcsm

* Would your answers to T2 change if you would have the chance to participate in a private tweetchat vs. a public one?

* Is it important for you to give explicit consent to have your tweets analyzed?

Please note: the normal #hcsm ‘community rules’ still apply during this chat. The #hcsm community rules that apply during the Sunday night chats are simple: try to stay on topic; be respectful of others (including avoiding spamming); and have fun!

What if I have questions?

If you have any questions, concerns, or complaints, or think that the research has hurt you, you can talk to the research team at or This research has been reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board. You can reach them at (508) 856-4261 or if you would prefer to speak with someone not associated with the study or have questions about your rights as a research subject.

Again, you can find the fact sheet for the study here.

If you have questions in general about #hcsm, or this particular #hcsm chat, you may also ping me (@DanaMLewis or to the @HealthSocMed account) with any questions!

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