Ed Bennet, hospital web manager at the University of Maryland Medical System has kept a running list of social media accounts managed by U.S. hospitals for some time now--his most recent update tracks the popularity of YouTube accounts vs. Twitter accounts.
Bennet notes that it took 26 months for hospitals in the U.S. to rack up 100 accounts for the service, while Twitter has only taken about 17 months to reach the same figure. Bennet expects the number of hospital Twitter accounts to overtake the number of hospital YouTube accounts in about four to six weeks.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that limits users to 140 characters per post. The limit coincides with a mobile phone's 160 character limit for text messages. From its launch Twitter kept in mind usability from mobiles and, as a result, it's easy to text message updates to the site or even receive updates via text message in real-time from friends and colleagues.
The first hospital on YouTube? Arkansas Children's Hospital set the trend on Sept. 13, 2006.
The first hospital on Twitter? St. Jude Children's recognized the power of micro-blogging on October 23, 2007.