Jessica G.Y. Luc, MD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Mara B. Antonoff, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
STS News, Winter 2019 -- Using Twitter for communication and information dissemination at major medical conferences such as the STS 55th Annual Meeting allows for real-time international conversations, critical appraisal, and networking. Discourse via Twitter broadens the discussion venue for scholarly activity by engaging those attending a meeting, as well as those who are unable to attend. Best of all, these conversations often continue even after the meeting adjourns.
Just in time for the upcoming Annual Meeting in San Diego, here is a how-to guide for utilizing Twitter to maximize your conference experience and expand the reach of the exciting science presented at the meeting.
Prepare Before the Meeting
If you don’t already have one, sign up for a Twitter account. When creating a username, use your full name and designate yourself as a physician. Include a professional picture, your occupation, academic/hospital affiliations, and biography to improve the credibility of your content. You’ll need to make your profile public so that anyone attending the STS Annual Meeting can see your tweets. If it’s private, only those who you have approved to follow you will see your tweets.
You’ll also want to follow individuals in the cardiothoracic surgery community, as well as organizations such as STS (@STS_CTsurgery). Familiarize yourself with Twitter’s key features, including liking, retweeting, and replying to tweets. In addition to tweeting your own thoughts, you can interact with other Annual Meeting attendees by responding to their posts.
Encourage Discussion of Your Work
If you’re presenting at the STS Annual Meeting, tweet about your talk in advance to build anticipation. You also can schedule tweets to be sent out during your presentation using a third-party app. You may want to include your Twitter handle and your institution’s handle on your slides, as well as the conference hashtag (#STS2019). Create slides that are designed to be tweeted, like a visual abstract or summary slide. Assume by default that data are no longer private once presented.
Craft the Perfect Conference Tweet
Once you arrive in San Diego, start sharing your meeting experience! You can highlight sessions that you’re looking forward to attending or share something interesting that you heard during a presentation. Construct your tweets carefully to have the highest impact. Essential components include:
- Hashtags – Using the meeting hashtag, #STS2019, ensures that anyone who is following the meeting feed will see your tweet. Your tweets also could appear in the STS Meetings app or the STS Meeting Bulletin. Additional hashtags that may be relevant are shown in the chart below.
- Speaker tags – If you’re tweeting about a specific presentation, tag the speakers and their institutions by typing @ in front of their usernames. This will notify the speakers that you’ve tweeted about their presentation; they may retweet, reply to, or like your tweet.
- Quotes – Differentiate your personal views from those of the speakers by using quotations.
- Additional resources – Make your tweet more interactive by linking to relevant studies mentioned in the presentation or including a photo of key slides. (Note that taking photos of slides during Tech-Con 2019 is not permitted.)
|#STS2019||STS Annual Meeting 2019|
|#CTCareers||Cardiothoracic surgery careers|
|#CVICU||Cardiovascular intensive care unit|
|#ERAS||Enhanced recovery after surgery|
|#Radialfirst||Radial artery first|
|#LCSM||Lung cancer social media|
|#FOAMed||Free open access medical education|
|#SoMe4Surgery||Social media for surgery|
|#TSSMN||Thoracic Surgery Social Media Network|
Follow Appropriate Twitter Etiquette
It’s important not to disturb your fellow meeting attendees while you’re tweeting. Turn down your phone brightness and volume, and do not obstruct the view of other attendees. In addition, respect intellectual property if requested by the presenter. And keep in mind that while controversy is acceptable, don’t attack someone who may hold different views than you do. Keep your conversation civil.