Skip to content

Live-tweeting a Medical Conference

I downloaded my Twitter archive! Yes, you can do that on your Twitter account page. I now have the luxury of reviewing my very first tweet. I can even see when I had the most tweets – August 2013 with a remarkable 1,795 tweets!

I signed up for Twitter June 2010 as an assignment for my informatics class MI 295 with Dr. Alvin Marcelo. I was going to San Diego to attend the Endocrine Society annual convention and would therefore be missing my classes for a week. My first tweet –

1st tweet

My first tweet that included a link was this –


It links to Phil Baumann’s post on the 140 Healthcare Uses for Twitter. Live-tweeting medical conferences is #70.

I only joined #HCLDR tweet chat a few months ago so I wasn’t around yet to participate in this #HCLDR chat last March 6, 2013 which was about conference tweeting. I will answer the tweet chat questions in this blog post though 🙂 with my limited experience of live tweeting at medical conferences.

T1. What are the Benefits of Tweeting during a health care and social media conference?

My first live tweet at a conference was this –


As you can see, the tweet was 2:59 am Manila time as there is a time difference between San Diego and Manila. Live tweeting kept me AWAKE during the conference! So that’s one benefit.

Since I had just signed up for Twitter, I didn’t have any followers except for Dr. Marcelo who gave me the Twitter assignment and a few of my classmates. I requested my endocrine fellows to create Twitter profiles to follow me. So another benefit would be that my endocrine fellows were sort of able to attend the conference virtually through the nuggets of information I was tweeting.

As I review my Twitter archive now, I also realize that my twitter feed is sort of a conference notebook with my learning points recorded as tweets.

The “Twitter tips for conference” page at the British Association of Occupational Therapists and College of Occupational Therapists enumerates some tips for getting the most out of Twitter at the conference. One such tip I didn’t appreciate before is for the presenter to get useful feedback by checking the key points that attendees tweeted about. This can be a good way to find out if the audience understood the presentation.

T2. As a Health Care Leader, what factors are important to consider when your tweets include a conference hashtag?

I think the most important factors to consider would be that the tweets are accurate representations of conference proceedings and to ensure that one has the necessary permissions. Ernesto Priego explores the 10 rules of thumb for live-tweeting at academic conferences. Pertinent to my answer here are #5 and #6.

5. Attribution is key: Be clear in your tweets about who is saying what. If you don’t attribute and/or use quotation marks when reporting what has been said, people can (and rightly will) assume it’s you saying it…

6. If you are quoting directly, use quotation marks. Think direct and indirect reported speech. Never assume anything you read online is from the public demain. Attribute other people’s ideas or anything else you quote. It’s not just good manners, it’s professional ethics.

T3. How could conference speakers ensure their talk will be tweeted?

Should the conference speakers be the ones ensuring this or the conference organizers? The conference organizer would generally put up an official conference hashtag, i.e. #ENDO2010. But perhaps at the beginning of the talk, the conference speaker can also volunteer a hashtag for the audience to use.

To wrap up this blog post, let me say that I passed that MI 295 class 🙂 And just in case you’re interested, there is a blogging rubric from the University of Wisconsin-Stout that teachers can use to evaluate tweets of students.

Finally (among other things), #HealthXPh is about discovering new ways of communicating in healthcare. Here’s to seeing more live tweeting at Philippine medical conferences! Please join our #HealthXPh Google+ community.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.