We had to change #radonc journal club’s original format of three days of general conversation with a live hour chat. It was just too long to do monthly, so we are shortening the ‘asynchronous’ part but trying to keep a live hour. Below are some updated guidelines we recommend for authors/discussants and participants:
1. Sign up for Twitter
- Go to Twitter to sign up https://www.twitter.com/signup
- Have ideally a 400 x 400 pixel profile picture ready to add
- Select a unique name/handle (non-anonymous)
- Carefully review settings to ensure you don’t get unwanted emails, notifications in settings
Twitter 101: Signing up (≤10 minutes, 23 slides)
Twitter 102: Account Settings (≤7 minutes, 14 slides)
2. Before #radonc Chat
Our goal is to make the article for journal club free, if only temporarily, so you can read in advance or during the #radonc journal club. We will try to post a link in the blog post so you can access beforehand. If you have problems, please let us know so we can fix it early.
Think of the hashtag stream as a sort of interactive radio station. If you don’t use #radonc frequency, others don’t hear it. Using the tag allows other people interested in radiation oncology to discover you. It’s a great way to connect in general, but essential for a tweet chat to function.
A. Decide if you want to use multiple windows in Twitter or the tool Tweetdeck.
- #radonc lets you see the active conversation
- Notifications make sure you see who’s mentioning, talking to you
- One for your home Twitter page to enter a quick response
Option 2 = Tweetdeck
- Twitter’s system for chats, sometimes quicker responsiveness than the main website
- Requires a little setup
- On left hand of page, enter #radonc into search box
- In the window that pops up, select “Add Column”
- On left hand of page, hit the + symbol, then add Notifications as a column
- On left hand of page, hit the + symbol, then add Home, Messages to have available in Tweetdeck too
Option 3 = 3rd party tool
- Hootsuite, Tweetchat, Twubs are some alternative 3rd party software you can link to your Twitter account
B. Find others in the #radonc community in advance
3. When the #radonc Chat Starts
For people to see your tweets in the live stream, you have to include #radonc somewhere in the tweet. Otherwise only your followers will see it. Think of the hashtag stream as a sort of interactive radio station. If you don’t use #radonc frequency, others don’t hear it. Using the tag allows other people interested in radiation oncology to discover you. It’s a great way to connect in general, but essential for a tweet chat to function.
A. Asynchronous chat
By tapping into the #radonc tag’s ‘All Tweets’ at this link, you can see what others around the world are saying. It may not be real-time but you can respond to them, and it will show up under their ‘Notifications’ tab. The asynchronous chat means anyone can comment and share whenever following the #radonc stream from Friday until Sunday 8PM Central Standard Time.
Willing authors/discussants ideally join during the asynchronous chat, but the prime focus is their participation for the live hour. In my opinion, authors get more out of more engagement to highlight their research, but I can’t ask someone to be online the entire time.
B. Live Chat
The idea is that it’s more interactive like a real conversation. Many use the analogy of a cocktail party: network, banter, discuss important topics of the day. So how does that work on Twitter?
Discussing academic topics is a little different. Most chats I participate in leave 5-10 minutes to chat, socialize, then start structured questions around the #radonc journal club article.
Usually there are four general questions to structure the chat, sometimes with a side question built in. Answers are for the author/discussant but also for other participants. Each question usually includes Q1 or T1 for first question/topic to help curate it and allow readers to follow different simultaneous conversation threads.
Keep in mind we will have the study author joining us. If chatter becomes a distraction from the main conversation, the chat moderators may politely ask that we focus on the topic at hand. If you want to chat with someone out of the main #radonc chat, you can always leave the hashtag out of your tweet. Then it’s not in the chat stream. Do keep in mind that regardless of whether it’s in #radonc or not, all tweets are public domain.
There are a whole bunch of abbreviations to learn. The etiquette for Twitter is abbreviated attribution of your sources. Here are the big ones:
RT = retweet. Not radiation therapy! This is when you share the message unchanged.
MT = modified tweet. It’s fine to edit a tweet to fit if you don’t change its substance. But acknowledge it’s your change.
HT = heard through/hat tip You share something directly but acknowledge someone else gave you the idea/content.
Be aware that patients, caregivers, and other health professionals can join in too. Part of the goal is improving education about radiation oncology beyond the specialty, so non-‘experts’ that participate according to the rules/etiquette are welcomed.
Remember to inclue #radonc in your tweets if you want people to see them!
Conflicts of Interest
If we are discussing a topic for which you may have a financial conflict of interest that’s no problem, but transparency is important. Consider sharing it during the discussion.
Any questions? Please ask in the comment section so we can help others.
How to be professional online
I’m not sure whether it works for everyone, but I gave a talk for Massachusetts Medical Society resident/fellows talk that may be helpful.
It’s my hope that we may be able to eventually work toward offering CME (continuing medical education) or CPD (continuing professional development) credits. We will need organizations to help us. But Mayo Clinic now recognizes social media activity toward academic advancement. Stay tuned!
Let us know what you think works best to still capture global discussion. If you have questions about the #radonc journal club guidelines, let me know. The community’s needs change as we grow, so #radonc is open to any feedback!