Background: The Pew Research center stated that social media use has increased from 7% in 2005 to 65% in 2015. One popular form of social media is Twitter. Twitter users post “tweets” of 140 characters or less and users can follow each other, and “re-tweet” or “like” posts. Users can also choose to “follow” and directly receive tweets of other users or organizations. Twitter also utilizes hashtags (#) to identify tweets related to certain topics and serve as a searchable term. A popular hashtag used by AAP members is #tweetiatrician which can be used to tweet about a variety of pediatric topics. Twitter allows users with similar interests to connect and identify potential partners. Given the many uses for Twitter in networking, advocacy and medical education, our program started a Twitter page for the Section on Academic General Pediatrics. Methods: After choosing Twitter for our first social media platform, we created a proposal which we sent to our Section Chief. He reviewed the proposal and was interested in starting this project. We then contacted our medical school’s Office of Communications and Community Outreach to help set up our Twitter page, username (handle), and profile pictures. The office also provided guidance on best practices and the material that could be shared when using Twitter as a recognized representative of the institution. The page was launched in May 2015 and we began gathering followers and tweeting. Results: Since May 2015 we have developed a network of 232 followers and our account follows 502 Twitter handles. The Twitter handles that we follow are diverse and include handles with international, national, and local reach. We have posted 569 tweets since May 2015. Using Twitter Analytics, 55% of our followers are female. A majority of our followers are from the United States (88%); however we also have followers from the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Vietnam, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan. In addition, we plotted number of tweets and compared that with number of new followers and found that as the number of tweets per month decreased that our number of new followers per month also decreased. Conclusion: Twitter is easy to join and can have a wide reach. Twitter is a form of social media that can be easy maintain, and can be a non-intimidating introduction to social media as users can initially use the service to “follow” and listen to other users, perhaps liking or re-tweeting posts of interest and then progressing to generating unique content and connections. Future directions for Twitter for academic institutions include creating a network to share information, studying the impact of messages and identifying marketing techniques to analyze the most effective means of targeting certain populations.
To Tweet or Not to Tweet: An Academic General Pediatric Section’s Experience
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Padma Swamy, Margaret Wood, Ana Monterrey, Jill Ann Jarrell, Julieana Nichols; To Tweet or Not to Tweet: An Academic General Pediatric Section’s Experience. Pediatrics January 2018; 141 (1_MeetingAbstract): 243. 10.1542/peds.141.1MA3.243
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