Imagine this if you will (and this is not imaginary).  I am sitting at home quite comfortably on a Google + hangout and suddenly a window appears from a Live newscast in Colombia Mo. 

Suddenly I am in the midst of a live news program where I am asked a number of questions about medicine, health and reform.. Sarah Hill (an Emmy Award Winning News Person is one of a few broadcasters who use Google + Hangouts regularly during their broadcast day to obtain opinion and comments from viewers like you and me. My sense this is just the beginning of a new iteration of social media.

Social media in general and healthcare in particular has reached a significant audience, and even more important, active participants. The rise of the hash tag and understanding of how it works and is used makes the millions of seemingly endless tweets somewhat more organized according to readers’ interests.

Hash tags are really quite simple and they allow a selective view of recent tweets according to your interest. The challenge is identifying the best one(s)  for your search. There are some directories available. In healthcare the Foxegroup has a good resource for #hcsm (healthcare in social media). A Google search for hash tag ((N) where N is the area you are interested in will bring up some other resources. That is for the incoming stream you read.

When posting you can also identify the general group you target in addition to using the @ sign. You can use multiple hash tags. It is also possible to search for an individual twitter stream such as #glevin1.  Try that to follow my stream of unconsciousness on twitter.

I have been accused of being a hash tag scrambler using multiple tags. One must be cautious to leave a space between the tags otherwise the software will  concatenate your hash tags into a meaningless string of words.

Hash tags can also be added to Facebook entries, Google+ entries as well as tweets.

Each week I read more and more about the growth of social media in healthcare and medicine.

The addition of Google + and the Google + Hangout adds a new dimension to social media in terms of intimacy and face-to-face-time in a way that Facebook failed to capitalize upon.

My Google + Stream will soon offer the “Medical Hangout” on Thursday evenings, 6PM PST. I am looking for outgoing visionaries in the Health 2.0 space from an international audience. I am certain you have something to offer, even if it is a negative opinion.

If you are reading this, place me in your Google + circles to receive an invite to my hangouts.

Meanwhile I have just realized it’s time for me to submit my social media story to Webinar. I might win a prize if I win the contest.