A lot of hashtags come and go on Twitter, but some have true staying power. The #FOAMed hashtag, of course, is the most recognized hashtag in the emergency medicine Twitterverse and has been going strong since 2012. Typically, #FOAMed amasses between 1,000 and 1,500 tweets on any given day, and during conferences, the number skyrockets. If you were to only search Twitter for the #FOAMed hashtag, you’d still be drinking from a fire hose.
While the #FOAMed hashtag was supposed to help narrow down the Twitter noise into only “the good stuff” for people like emergency physicians, its popularity and ubiquity has made it a victim of its own success. As a result, subniche hashtags have sprouted up, and many of them feature consistently reliable, high-quality tweets about various areas of interest.
A relatively new hashtag that seems to have staying power is #PostItPearls. The idea is that a Post-it note can handle the same amount of information as a good lecture slide.
The best part is that you can make a high-yield Post-it and share it with the resident you are working with. You can then stick it onto your desk or the side of your computer screen so that if Resident A happens to be sewing up a laceration when you are teaching Resident B, Resident A can get in on some of the action later if they happen to see it. Even better, you can snap a photo of it on your phone and tweet it out, so thousands of learners can see it online. Noted emergency medicine educators such as Rob Cooney, MD, MEd (@EMEducation), and Michelle Lin, MD (@M_Lin), have been active contributors to the #PostItPearls movement. Dr. Cooney proves that the San Francisco syncope rule can fit on one Post-it (and so does the Ottawa ankle rule). Dr. Lin’s Post-it on the Rule of 150 for acetaminophen toxicity is permanently saved in the Post-it Pearls pictures folder on my phone. (The toxic dose of acetaminophen is 150 mg/kg, the four-hour toxic level is 150 µg/mL, and the first dose of the N-acetylcysteine antidote is 150mg/kg.) Of course, Amal Mattu, MD, FACEP (@AmalMattu), is old-fashioned. He likes to tweet photos of the whiteboard teaching pearls from his shifts. However, as Anand Swaminathan MD, MPH (@EMSwami), mentioned in his post on the Core EM blog about #PostItPearls, who the heck has a whiteboard in the emergency department anymore? So it’s back to good old paper and pen (or Sharpie, for maximal clarity).
For those of us who see some but not enough children in our emergency departments: to feel up-to-date on the latest and greatest in pediatrics, the #FOAMped (and #FOAMpeds) hashtag can be helpful.