This is not a lesson about the limitations of 140-character messages on Twitter.
Rather, it is a warning about careless Tweets that mischaracterize the real meat of the message in longer stories linked to in the Twitter message. As I wrote on Twitter in response to these two episodes, “Better not to Tweet on complex health care topics than to mischaracterize your own story with a misleading 140 characters.”
First, my friend Andrew Holtz caught the fact earlier this week that Men’s Health Magazine tweeted:
If you’re a smoker, you NEED to get a CT scan. Here’s why: http://ow.ly/5x34y
That “here’s why” link took you to a Men’s Health Magazine story, that despite being headlined “The Medical Test Every Smoker Needs,” went on to explain:
Don’t run out and ask for a CT scan, though. More than 96 percent of the positive screens in the study were false positives, which could subject you to unnecessary surgery, cancer treatments, and the complications that come with them. They’re also expensive: A chest CT scan can cost up to several thousands of dollars.
So look at how silly Men’s Health looked on this confusing back-and-forth message:
1. You NEED to get a CT scan.
2. It’s a test “every smoker needs”
3. But don’t run out and ask for one.
Then this morning I caught AARP doing the same thing. They tweeted:
Are you a smoker? CT scan those lungs – they’re proven to cut risk of lung cancer death for 55-plus: http://aarp.us/rdleHu
That links takes you to a story that includes caveats such as the following: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*