Microblogging service Twitter is maximizing in popularity. Though there are naysayers who don’t understand the medium and dismiss it as shallow and narcissistic (just like early blog critics did), Twitter is used in many vital ways. For every snarkster who writes about her lunch, there’s an account like Brainline sharing serious medical info. Musicians set up impromptu concerts while professors analyze journalism, and people organize flash mobs for celebrity tributes or political protests. There are job postings, science fiction flashforward zines… I could go on, but the point is: there are many, many “tweeps” with useful, revealing and cool accounts. Plenty are about psychology and mental health. It was very difficult to narrow this list to just ten, so I used these criteria:
- NO marketing (including “free” e-books, how-to guides, etc.)
- not just “broadcasting” or re-feeding, follows others and reads their feeds
- interacts with friends and followers, replies to people
- shares more than just factoids, quotes, or pop psych aphorisms
- active but not overactive
- not too off-topic, talks mostly about psychology, psychotherapy and/or mental health
- humour, taste, talent, good writing and personality
- poise, swimsuit competition, and how they’ll bring about world peace
Kidding about that last one, but — here are the psych tweep pageant winners:
10. @mtabraham “Professional Counselor – my goal is to help people be more successful through mindful awareness and self acceptance.” Terri Abraham is a very active tweep sharing positive thoughts and info on mindfulness therapy and spirituality. Chatty and responsive even with thousands of followers.
9. @loveisthecure5 “Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Movement Leader.” I love Love is The Cure because it’s a movement that’s completely peer-driven without being disorganized. Volunteer-based with a sleek professional sheen, there’s no crankery or misinformation. It’s positive, directly supportive, promotes awareness while fighting stigma, and offers cool volunteer opportunities through building a network. LITC rocks!
8. @deborahserani “Psychologist, Professor and Author.” Dr. Deb has maintained a blog for years and has transitioned to Twitter very nicely. She shares cool links on a wide variety of psychology-related subjects.
7. @therapyonline “A wide lens is cast at the Online Therapy Institute ranging from email and chat to videoconferencing and Second Life.” DeeAnna Merz Nagel maintains this popular account with a focus that’s business-to-business for professionals who offer online therapy. She manages to share lots of intriguing info while straddling a thin line between professional organization and marketer – without falling into the dark side.
6. @shiftstigma “Shift believes that people with a history of mental health problems should have the same chances and opportunities as everyone else.” For anyone concerned about stigma – which is anyone involved with mental health – this awesome UK charity keeps an active Twitter account with lots of thought-provoking info and a friendly, accessible tone. Unlike so many organizations on Twitter that are disappointingly aloof broadcasters, they reply to followers and initiate conversations too.
5. @iopsychology “I/O Psychologist who studies motivation, apathy, gossip, and metacognition.” Industrial-Organizational Psychology grad student/TA at Michigan State University. Gordon B. Schmidt writes about research and shares the work of other tweeps and bloggers in the field, but also takes the time to compliment a friend’s puppy.
4. @drdavidballard “Head of Corporate Relations and Business Strategy at the American Psychological Association. Business, psychology, technology, health and productivity.” Dr. Ballard is Tweeting on behalf of a organization so you won’t find personal opinions on things that aren’t professionally relevant, but he is thought provoking, interactive, shares great news links and he writes, well, like a pro.
3. @drkathleenyoung “Licensed Clinical Psychologist Treating Trauma in Chicago.” Her practice (and Twitter & blog focus) is on PTSD, domestic violence, sexual assault, trauma in general which you might think would make for a bleak feed but she’s very upbeat, encouraging, active and interactive. Shares useful info and talks to lots of tweeps whether professional or civilian.
2. @kidtherapist “Children’s Therapist and Author of Kids Awareness Series Books.” Kara T. Tamanini’s feed is an awesome mix of personality, community, well-aggregated professional quality info, and friendly interaction. I adore her account, and I’ll bet the kids that she treats adore her too. Enthusiastic and on point.
1. @drkkolmes “Clinical psychologist in private practice specializing in anxiety, depression, relationships, sexuality and the intersection of technology and mental health.” Very in tune with the net culture zeitgeist, Keely Kolmes has spoken about online mental health at SXSW and MentalHealthCamp. She challenges paradigms and explores boundaries in questions like: Should you “friend” your therapist? Read her blog? Should a therapist Google a client? A 21st century psychologist who’d top any new media mental health list, she unquestionably deserves the crown from us.
Should the winners not be able to fulfil their tweeting duties, here are the runners-up:
@countersuicide Shares crisis resources, suicide prevention info and news. Unlike the professional suicide prevention orgs on Twitter, this heroic volunteer directly interacts with people in crisis online. Crucial and literally lifesaving.
@apahelpcenter From the American Psychological Association, not very interactive but oodles of valuable info.
@marielhemingway My fave mentally healthy celebrity on Twitter, she offers lots of love, positivity and tips for healthy living.
Did I miss someone who you think is a winner? Please share your picks in the comments.