Twitter-based health chats can be a very rewarding way to learn and interact with others that care about similar topics. Radiation oncology is a longstanding cornerstone of cancer care, and it’s exciting to participate in bringing online learning to people globally via #radonc starting as a journal club.
For those unfamiliar with it, Twitter can seem challenging. How do you fit something complex into 140 characters? It’s a challenge but Twitter has some real benefits:
- it allows real-time interactions globally;
- it forces you to be clear, concise and responsive;
- you can share more about radiation oncology with people outside the field.
- social media coverage may correlate to more traditional measures of academic impact.
We are building on the successful model of #urojc, which recently reported a positive first year’s experience as a monthly journal club. We have chosen to try to fuse an open 48 hour free chat (asynchronous) with a vibrant, one-hour live chat similar to #hcldr, #hcsm, #meded and other very successful Twitter communities. Please let us know ways in which we can improve the model to work for the radiation oncology community, as it’s likely to differ from other specialties in some key ways.
In fact, after first discussing it, already we’ve had it evolve: there will now be live discussions in North America starting August 17, 8PM CST and then in Australia on August 18 thanks to Dr. Dion Forstner:
We’re prepared to adapt further, but first let’s try this model.
- August 15th we will post specifics on the chat, focusing on single fraction radiation to palliative bone metastasis. This post will include some focused questions around the article
- The paper, recently published in IJROBP, is here on PubMed
- Dr. Robert Olson will be joining us. You can follow him at @DrOlsonOncology
- Tune in to the open forum using the #radonc hashtag through the weekend
- @Rad_Nation will moderate the North American chat Sunday August 17th at 8 PM Central Standard Time
- Defer to Dr. Forstner on how best to organize in Australia
Once the chat is complete, we’ll aggregate into a transcript using Symplur, which organizes hashtags and give analytics and transcripts. Any other suggestions on how best to share would be greatly appreciated so that the information may be shared with others who can’t participate.
Similar to #urojc, we plan on recognizing participants as leaders. None of the organizers can win prizes; we want to recognize your contributions to learning and awareness of radiation oncology’s importance to cancer care.
Do keep in mind that Twitter is public domain. We do have some suggested guidelines on participation. Here are some tips on getting started on social media, using Twitter, and for tweet chats. If in doubt, lurk and listen. But when you’re ready, speak up – we look forward to learning from you!