Making the Most Out of Medical Meetings and Social Media

Yesterday my brilliant friend Brian Reid posted to the WCG Common Sense blog a piece entitled “A Modest Proposal for Socializing ASCO“.  In it, he addresses the sheer volume of information that is on display at a medical meeting and the odds of making it out of the abstract and into the news and offers a creative suggestion involving a QR code.

On Friday the 13th, the super smart and really nice Sally Church at the Pharma Strategy Blog indicated on Friday that she would be aggregating tweets from the AUA and on the 16th, she noted how creative some medical societies were at AUA in their use of social media – see How AUA Have Embraced Social Media in 2011.

Humbly in such esteemed company, I thought I would offer my own few takes on social media and medical meetings.  And let me start off by saying that social media is actually quite ideal for medical meetings.  It offers such a good way to organize and categorize material for rapid consumption by very targeted audiences and to help people sort through what they don’t want to see in order to get to what they do want to see.  That said, here are a few things I think that those who go to medical meetings, such as medical societies, should consider.

  • Beyond the usual tweetups, at your booth, put up some large screens that follow the hashtag and some key search terms so that you can track and display tweets for yourself and for others.  Under the hashtag, you could display the general content that is being generated under the name of the conference, but in addition, you would search for terms that people might use specific to a presentation or topic at the meeting.  By displaying it, you would be giving people who don’t have constant access to hootsuite or tweetdeck a service and you would be giving them a reason to congregate at your booth.  And it may be remembered as a far greater service than another ink pen with your name on it, or a chance to win an i-Pad.
  • If you are really daring, how about holding a live-blogging event at your booth. Create and publicize a blog for the conference and allow attendees at the conference to put down their thoughts about the conference, about specific presentations or posters or abstracts that they have seen, or any other observation they want to make.  Bloggers would have to attach a category to their posting and so impressions of the attendees would be recorded and classified spontaneously.  You would be churning out “citizen journalists” in one blog rather than spreading them across any.
  • If you aren’t into letting people blog, think about starting a vlog of the conference from your booth.  You could have a member of your own party act as a correspondent and go around the conference and record impressions as well as do interviews with presenters and attendees.  Or you could invite “citizen correspondents” to your booth to record their own impressions.

For all of this, of course, you would drive traffic to the blog or vlog by tweeting every entry. None of these ideas may be immediately appealing, but what should occur to you is that social media presents a lot of opportunity to be creative, and medical meetings provide you with a big canvas upon which you can create a social media masterpiece.

Go for it.

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