Social media has become a widespread tool among surgeons for professional networking, distributing research and collaborating. Social networking is essential to surgical practice, making fluency in social media imperative for the newest generation of surgeons entering practice. Social media is a unique tool that can be used to enhance clerkships, residency educational experiences, and continuing education for established physicians.
Integration of Twitter into the Association for Academic Surgery (AAS) 2016 Fall Courses Early Career Development Course (ECDC) introduced one example of a creative use of social media platforms to enhance surgical conference, increase engagement and create long-lasting networking opportunities. During the AAS Early Career Development Course, social media integration was divided into three portions: an introduction to social media including a step-by-step guide for how to sign up and use Twitter; an integration of moderated participant questions (in the form of tweets) during all lectures, panel discussions, and moderated question and answer sessions; and post-conference data analysis using symplur.com healthcare hashtag project.
Participants of the ECDC were introduced to Twitter. We discussed the functional capabilities and constraints of the platform. Practical tips were given to guide the initial setup of accounts, including engagement of faculty, residents, students, and alumni. The language of social media and the function of hashtags was briefly introduced. During the one-day conference, the #AASFC16 hashtag use was encouraged. Participants were encouraged to follow along using a mobile device, tablet or laptop during the ECDC. In preparing for the conference, the first step was registering the #AASFC16 hashtag with Symplur.com.
Twitter was used to live-tweet during the conference by using the AAS 2016 Fall Courses hashtag #AASFC16. Participants were encouraged to ask questions via Twitter throughout the lectures, panel discussions, and moderated question and answer sessions.
As the designated Twitterati, Sarah Bryczkowski, MD was responsible for moderating the Twitter wall during the conference.
Tweetwall.com was used to set up the Twitter wall. As a moderator, tweets which included the #AASFC16 hashtag were screened and displayed, if they contained appropriate content, on a Twitter wall (projected screen displaying tweets).
A sample of some of the conference tweets:
At the conclusion of the event we checked performance on social media. According to Symplur analytics, there were 318 participants, 1,102 tweets and over 3,000,000 impressions during the one-day conference.
The 2016 AAS Fall Courses ECDC was a huge success. In an effort to archive the events of the day Twitter activity was archived in an online blog at https://storify.com/SarahB_MD/aasfc16.
Sarah Bryczkowski, MD – Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ – General Surgery Chief Resident
Ajay Maker, MD – University of Illinois at Chicago – Associate Professor of Surgery, Director of Surgical Research and Director of Surgical Oncology
Rajesh Aggarwal, MBBS, MA, PhD, FRCS – McGill University – Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning