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Most consider Twitter as a tool purely for social networking. However, it has been used extensively as a tool for online discussion at nonmedical and medical conferences, and the academic benefits of this tool have been reported. Most anesthetists still have yet to adopt this new educational tool. There is only one previously published report of the use of Twitter by anesthetists at an anesthetic conference. This paper extends that work.
We report the uptake and growth in the use of Twitter, a microblogging tool, at an anesthetic conference and review the potential use of Twitter as an educational tool for anesthetists.
A unique Twitter hashtag (#WSM12) was created and promoted by the organizers of the Winter Scientific Meeting held by The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) in London in January 2012. Twitter activity was compared with Twitter activity previously reported for the AAGBI Annual Conference (September 2011 in Edinburgh). All tweets posted were categorized according to the person making the tweet and the purpose for which they were being used. The categories were determined from a literature review.
A total of 227 tweets were posted under the #WSM12 hashtag representing a 530% increase over the previously reported anesthetic conference. Sixteen people joined the Twitter stream by using this hashtag (300% increase). Excellent agreement (κ = 0.924) was seen in the classification of tweets across the 11 categories. Delegates primarily tweeted to create and disseminate notes and learning points (55%), describe which session was attended, undertake discussions, encourage speakers, and for social reasons. In addition, the conference organizers, trade exhibitors, speakers, and anesthetists who did not attend the conference all contributed to the Twitter stream. The combined total number of followers of those who actively tweeted represented a potential audience of 3603 people.
This report demonstrates an increase in uptake and growth in the use of Twitter at an anesthetic conference and the review illustrates the opportunities and benefits for medical education in the future.
Journal of Medical Internet Research 11/2012; 14(6):e176. DOI:10.2196/jmir.2144 · 4.67 Impact Factor
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Social media channels such as Twitter are gaining increasing acceptance as mechanisms for instantaneous scientific dialogue. Professional medical societies such as ASCO are using social media to expand the reach of scientific communications at and around their scientific meetings. This article examines the how Twitter use by oncologists expanded at the ASCO Annual Meetings from 2010 to 2011.
In both years, tweets that were specifically generated by physicians and that incorporated the official meeting hashtag were harvested from the public domain, and a discourse analysis was performed by three independent raters. Follow-up surveys were conducted to assess physician attitudes toward Twitter and its potential role in clinical practice.
A combined total of 12,644 tweets were analyzed for 2010 and 2011. Although the number of physicians authoring tweets was small (14 in 2010, 34 in 2011), this group generated nearly 29% of the total meeting dialogue examined in this analysis in 2010 and 23% in 2011. Physicians used Twitter for reporting clinical news from scientific sessions, for discussions of treatment issues, for promotion, and to provide social commentary. The tangible impact of Twitter discussions on clinical practice remains unclear.
Despite the 140-character limit, Twitter was successfully used by physicians at the 2010 and 2011 ASCO Annual Meetings to engage in clinical discussions, whether or not an author was on site as a live attendee. Twitter usage grew significantly from 2010 to 2011. Professional societies should monitor these phenomena to enhance annual meeting attendee user experience.
Journal of Oncology Practice 05/2012; 8(3):173-8. DOI:10.1200/JOP.2011.000483
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