I attended the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 55th Annual Meeting (officially December 7-10, 2013). It seemed like the amount of Twitter activity had increased before and during the meeting compared to prior years. I asked Audun Utengen, MBA (@Audvin), from Symplur (@Symplur) for a quick analysis. They supplied information from the ASH 2011 (#ASH11 hashtag) and ASH 2012 (#ASH12) meetings. I then looked at 1/1/13 -> Sunday 12/8/13) for #ASH13. [At the time I am writing this, note that the ASH 2013 meeting still had a day and a half remaining—Monday night, December 9, and Tuesday, December 10.]
I tweeted: Analytics - #ASH11 /#ASH12 / #ASH13 (so far) -
Tweets: 2362 / 3013 / 6664
Tweeps: 466 / 566 / 1245
Impressions: 9.5M / 11.8M / 16M
So even before the 2013 meeting was completed, the number of tweets more than doubled from 2012 and the number of Twitter people (tweeps) more than doubled as well. Therefore, it isn't a few, 10, or even a hundred people tweeting, but over a thousand. Of course, some high-tweet -level individuals were present.
Interestingly, some of the top tweeters showed a good representation of areas involved in clinical care and drug development in hematology. ASH (@ash_hematology) had the top mentions. The prolific patient advocate tweeters @MyelomaTeacher and @IMFMyeloma provided a large number of tweets. Several doctors were tweeting, including: @hemedoc, @TheBloodMD, @DrMiguelPerales, and @Lymphoma_Doc. Biotechnology analysts and consultants such as @AndyBiotech, @MaverickNY, and @3NT were prominent. Pharmaceutical companies were active this year, including new Twitter feeds from @Celgene and @Celgene_Myeloma, as well as the highest “impressions” Twitter feed from @Novartis. @DanaFarber and @NIH_NHLBI also had high impression scores.
ASCO activity was looked at in the JOP didactic review of “Trends in Twitter Use by Physicians at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, 2010 and 2011,” by Aafia Chaudhry, MD (@aafiac), L. Michael Glodé, MD, FACP (@ascotwit), Matt Gillman (@captmatty), and Robert S. Miller, MD, FACP (@rsm2800).
At the ASCO 2013 Annual Meeting (#ASCO13), data from "The Social Oncology Project 2013" (by @BrianReid et al. @W2OGroup @MDigitalLife) contextualized Twitter use in society in general, medicine, and specifically in oncology. What was previously seen as the activity of “early adopter” techies on the fringe is now become an increasingly main stream component of medical meetings.
One year ago, Mike Fisch, MD , MPH (@fischMD), reviewed these concepts in the ASCO Connection blog post "Putting Twitter to Use Among Oncologists: Shared Note-Taking at National Meetings and Other Stuff." Since that time, Matthew Katz, MD (@SubAtomicDoc), has created a "Hashtag Folksonomy for Cancer Communities on Twitter” based on his participation in the breast cancer social media (#bcsm) Twitter discussion groups (chats) followed by “Health Hashtags: Successes & Challenges in Organizing Oncology Online.”He also reviewed “Annual Meeting Twitter activity in 2013: Four Professional Societies,” including #ASCO13. A great quote from that blog post that I have thought of often is:
“Twitter may be relevant to how effective professional societies are at sharing research and the organizational mission.”
I am glad ASCO and now ASH are doing well in this regard. While there is a "movement to start evaluating blogging and tweets on par with academic publications," we aren’t there yet; but it is clear that many people are getting information from the Twitter stream before, during, and after the event, and this may serve as an amplification of medical knowledge dissemination from annual meetings. I think this is good for organizational missions and relevance, as well as for improving patient care and clinical innovation.
What do you think?
Dr. Thompson is on the Celgene MDS/AML registry advisory panel.