Physicians are increasingly using social media to connect around shared interests and goals and brainstorm solutions to problems.
“Social media allows people to highlight the issues they think are important and find others with whom to discuss them,” said RSNA member Matt Hawkins, M.D., a pediatric interventional radiologist at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Hawkins interacts on social media almost daily.
“There is also the opportunity for people who have met through Twitter or Facebook to actually meet in person—a ‘tweet-up,’ if you will,” Dr. Hawkins continued. “These in-person meetings can prove very valuable and are integral to re-establishing our professional community.”
Dr. Hawkins is among the fans of RSNA’s Facebook page and one of thousands who follow RSNA on Twitter.
RSNA made its first Facebook post and sent its first tweet on Twitter in 2008. The Society’s social media presence has grown considerably since then, with more than 40,000 fans on Facebook and a Twitter following of nearly 15,000.
Much of that momentum was gained during recent RSNA annual meetings, where social media became a place where attendees passed on wisdom they’d gained, continued conversations about hot topics and shared tips for optimizing the meeting experience. Engagement with RSNA social media sites, measured in user likes, shares and comments on content, increased by 155 percent from RSNA 2012 to RSNA 2013, while new Twitter followers increased by 98 percent.
Hundreds of Twitter users participated in conversations at RSNA 2013. Tweets and retweets with the #RSNA13 hashtag covered a diverse range of topics including upcoming sessions, memorable presenter quotes and the day’s hot topics. Tweets also included lighter fare such as tips on comfortable footwear (#RSNAShoes) to survive the hard McCormick Place floors. At meeting’s end, content that included the #RSNA13 hashtag had received some 25 million impressions—that’s a count of each time such content was delivered to a Twitter user’s tweet stream—10 million-plus more than the previous year.
“A positive outcome from a conference is the interesting conversations people can have with one another,” said Garry Choy, M.D., M.B.A., a diagnostic radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and active social media user who co-founded the radiology social media network RadRounds.
Those Twitter conversations have persisted after the meeting, on topics ranging from RSNA sightings at meetings around the world, applications of the RSNA Radiology Cares initiative and reaction to new articles in Radiology, RadioGraphics and RSNA News. Twitter is also an emerging educational tool, users say.
“Over time, social media has turned into a great opportunity to advance important conversations about health reform—and also for users to learn a lot in the process,” added avid social media user Richard Duszak Jr., M.D., vice-chair of radiology at Emory University.
If discourse is at the heart of Twitter, images are the cornerstone of Facebook. Appropriately enough as RSNA celebrates its centennial, users are gathering in cyberspace to flip through the Society’s photo album, responding enthusiastically to nostalgia-related posts such as a black-and-white image of a World War I radiographer wearing protective headgear; a 1928 Radiology ad of a tilt fluoroscopic table garnered particularly significant attention. Fans can also turn to RSNA’s Facebook page to find news, scientific articles, alerts about grants and educational opportunities and updates from RSNA and beyond.
Beth Burmahl is the Managing Editor of RSNA News.
Lynn Tefft Hoff, M.C.M., is the Executive Editor of RSNA News.
For those looking to learn or broaden their Facebook and Twitter skills, social media expert Drs. Hawkins and Choy will present “Introduction to Social Media,” with a focus on Twitter in two sessions at RSNA 2014: 4:30-6 p.m., December 1 (RCB25) and 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. December 3 (RCB41). Registration for RSNA 2014 is underway at RSNA.org/Register.
Despite its popularity, Twitter can seem daunting to the uninitiated. After creating an account (at Twitter.com), users need to get familiar with the terms and symbols before venturing a tweet. Below is a glossary of the basics:
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