Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Twitter and Conferences, Part 2

For those that know me, I have enjoyed being on Twitter over the past 8 months.  Based on one of the recent Twitter chats I had the privilege of participating in recently (#hcsm, to be exact), I am looking at trying to disseminate information out into the Twitter world that may be helpful to those who follow me.
I wasted no time in getting to work on this.  On January 4, and again on January 11, 2012, I “live-tweeted” bits of information from the Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds where I work, at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  The topics were phenomenal.  The first was on the state of oncology care at Moi University Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, with which our institution has an affiliation.  The second, this morning, was a talk on the use of technology for teenagers beginning the transition from pediatric providers to adult providers.  Both were excellent, and I personally learned a lot of great information from each conference.  But how do my followers feel?  I received many “retweets” and comments from each, and am pleased to see that at least a few followers had positive comments about this. (If you are interested in the information from either of these tweets, the Twitter hashtag is #IUPedsGrRounds).
However, live-tweeting a local conference such as one’s own grand rounds is still small, compared to live-tweeting national conferences.  Here is a paper on the topic from 2010, that describes the process.   You can also see a previous blog I wrote about this here, as well as this nice scientific discussion of how Twitter can be used to spread the message about science or medicine.
Progress appears to be somewhat slow with respect to how we can incorporate the use of Twitter at such conferences.  How about putting the Twitter handle on nametags at national meetings, just under their names, and promoting this when people register?  (As an example, I recently joined the Society of Academic CME, and on the application, I was asked for my Twitter handle; way to go, SACME!)  This would be one step towards utilizing and embracing social media for the promotion of great content for either health care professionals or for patients.
So do you tweet conferences, and if you do, why do you do it?  If not, would you be willing to try it at least once for a future conference you attend?  I will guarantee you that this way of “taking notes” has the potential for learning not just for the one tweeting but also others, and can been a lot of fun as well!


  1. It is definitely interesting to think of the possibilities. I am working with SHM right now for the Peds Hospitalist Conference in July to beef up the Twitter presence. My personal problem with it (and Tweeting stuff real time in general) is that I get too engrossed in what I am doing to take the time out to Tweet. I think trying to tweet a meeting would be too distracting to me.

  2. Tweeting can become one's "notes", given the ease in which one can pull up tweets at a later time for review.
    Would love to see the tweets from that conference later this year.

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