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USDA Uses Twitter to Inform Consumers of Recalls

I have been using twitter (@Microblogology) as a way to keep in touch with some of my online friends for awhile now. Eventually my occasional tweets involving microbiology caused me to be "discovered" by Chris Condayan (@MicrobeWorld) and I was quickly followed by some other people in the scientific community, something I at first found intimidating but now greatly enjoy. Twitter allows me to connect with other researchers, some of them fellow grad students and some are faculty and staff, in a way very different from how it would be if I met them at a conference. Another science/microbiology related aspect of twitter I've discovered is that the USDA and CDC also use twitter as a way of connecting with the public. The USDA (@USDAFoodSafety) puts out "tweets" (140 character messages) about FSIS recalls and on general food safety topics and links back to the USDA website in case people want more information. The CDC puts out similar tweets, currently many of them provide information on the H1N1 influenza outbreak. I follow these tweets and will often forward them along to the people who follow me in an attempt to help them stay informed about public health issues that could affect them or their family.

Above I linked a tweet put out by the USDA informing their followers of a Class I recall of a product potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes issued recently. Between public outreach and connecting with colleagues so they are more than just a name in a publication or someone who stopped by to glance at your poster at a conference twitter enables scientists to interact with each other as well as people they otherwise may not have been able to. So if you are not on twitter come join the fun, and if you are, are there any aspects of twitter that you like or use?

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