There’s no question that social media is becoming a preferred form of mainstream communication and news aggregation.
High science healthcare and data communications are mostly thought to be an exception to this rule, but not anymore. Twitter analytics show that conversations on the platform nearly quadrupled from 2013 to 2015 around the hashtag for oncology’s leading annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASCO. In 2015 nearly 80,000 tweets were issued using the meeting hashtag from more than 16,000 participants, many of them physicians.
Noticing that more and more health and science conversations are taking place on social media, the American Society of Hematology is hosting a “Social Media for the Hematologist” session during its 2015 annual meeting (ASH) to educate attendees about how the use of social media can be professionally beneficial. Medical associations have recognized the potential impact of further engaging physicians in an online dialogue around key congresses not only to spur continued scientific exchange but also raise the profile of the meeting and the perceived caliber of content presented.
As the shift continues toward physicians leading and participating in online conversations around data and medical advancements, we should also consider a physician’s social savvy, presence and willingness to post as we identify data spokespeople. It may no longer be enough to select spokespeople who are key opinion leaders in the traditional sense when digital opinion leaders can often be trained to deliver the same messages to traditional media while also opening the door to the millions of people who now turn to Twitter as their main source of news.
Stephanie Shaeffer is a member of our team at Biosector 2. This post originally appeared on their blog, B2View.