To Schedule or not to schedule …


9136067_sI spend a lot of time lurking on Twitter, it’s amazing what you can learn by just listening (though yes technically it is watching as those IT boffins haven’t invented the “read aloud” option for Twitter yet!) It was whilst I was listening the other day that I came across a scheduled tweet that was sent out by a healthcare tweet chat, it was advertising their next chat.  Now I have never been a big fan of scheduled tweets as I believe that social media is about what is happening now you wouldn’t go to a party make one statement and then just walk out of the room! Social media is very akin a party in that it’s a very sociable place to be, people would think you very strange if you just said one thing and then left!!  .. I am diversifying somewhat, back to the point …. This tweet chat then had a response to their tweet with someone asking for more information and trying to engage them, of course no one was there to respond and the response came nearly half a day later.  Now forgive me if I am wrong but the point of being in a social media space for many organisations, particularly in health, is to engage and drive health related conversation  …. So why would you send out a tweet when there is no one to respond? I was somewhat confused so I did what any social media enthusiast would do and I asked Twitter …..

Some really great points were made in favour of scheduling tweets, but not all of them are good reasons to schedule –

1Handy for reminders of events – I take this point but have concerns that if you are not about to answer questions and queries you could really annoy the people you are trying to reach.



2Useful for targeting different time zones – Again a good point as we can be awake and using social media 24/7 but still if you are not about to actually engage people will start to wonder why they never get a response or get a delayed response.



3So organisations can make use of peak foot flow on Twitter – Ok so this is just silly!! If you know when the people you want to reach are online why aren’t you online too?




4Scheduled tweets can be used when you are around then you can just concentrate on engaging – This I really like and I have to confess that I sometimes use scheduled tweets in this way …. But don’t tell anyone ;D



5Useful to just point people to content but not as a conversation starter – mmm not so sure about this one, back to the party analogy .. would I say to someone at a party “Take a look at this great Nursing Times article I read recently” and then leave the party ? I am very much of the opinion that content is a conversation starter.


As healthcare organisations we should no longer be static broadcast organisations and social media is certainly not a broadcast media.  Engagement is key, be around less if you have to but engage with healthcare professionals and the people we care for.  As you engage more effectively you will become respected and known and people will start to advocate and promote your messages for you.  It’s worth the effort !



I would advise the next time you reach for the “schedule tweet” button to stop and think – are you going to be around to engage?

One thought on “To Schedule or not to schedule …

  1. Scheduled tweets would be inappropriate for personal use of sicial media, but have a place if you’re using it professionally IMHO.

    For example, I’ve experimented with scheduled tweets to enhance education sessions, as per this example:

    Also, just the other day, I used scheduled tweets to coincide with a conference presentation about using social media (Twitter specifically), and announced it thus:

    We’re all still playing-around with social media to test its uses + shortcomings. I agree with highlighting the value of social media interactivity, but let’s keep the door open to other ideas too.

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