OBJECTIVE: To analyse the use of Twitter at urology conferences to enhance the social media conference experience.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We prospectively registered the hashtags of eight international urology conferences taking place in 2013, using the social media metrics website, Symplur.com. In addition, we prospectively registered the hashtag for the European Association of Urology Annual Meeting for three consecutive years (2012-14) to analyse the trend in the use of Twitter at a particular meeting. Metrics including number of tweets, number of participants, tweet traffic per day, and overall digital impressions were captured for five days prior to each conference, the conference itself, and the following two days. We also measured corresponding social media activity at a very large non-urology meeting (the American Society of Clinical Oncology) for comparative purposes.
RESULTS: Twitter activity was noted at all eight conferences in 2013. In total, 12,363 tweets were sent generating over 14 million impressions. The number of participants tweeting at each meeting varied from 80 (#SIU2013) to 573 (#AUA13). Overall, the American Urological Association meeting (#AUA13) generated the most Twitter activity with over 8.6 million impressions and a total of 4,663 tweets over the peri-conference period. It also had the highest number of impressions and tweets per day over this period - 717 thousand and 389 respectively. The EAU Annual Meeting 2013 (#EAU13) generated 1.74 million impressions from a total of 1,762 tweets from 236 participants. Regarding trends in Twitter use, there was a very sharp rise in Twitter activity at the EAU Annual Meeting between 2012-2014. Over this three-year period, the number of participants increasing almost ten-fold, leading to an increase in the number of tweets from 347 to almost 6,000. At #EAU14, digital impressions reached 7.35 million with 5,903 tweets sent by 797 participants.
CONCLUSIONS: Urological conferences, to a varying extent, have adopted social media as a means of amplifying the conference experience to a wider audience, generating international engagement and global reach. Twitter is a very powerful tool that amplifies the content of scientific meetings, and conference organisers should put in place strategies to capitalise on this.
Wilkinson SE, Basto MY, Perovic G, Lawrentschuk N, Murphy DG. Are you the author?
Prostate Cancer Research Group, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Reference: BJU Int. 2014 Aug 18. Epub ahead of print.
Urology-Training & Practice