Use of Twitter to document the 2013 Academic Surgical Congress

J Surg Res. 2014 Jul;190(1):36-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2014.02.029. Epub 2014 Feb 23.


Background: Social media is a cornerstone of modern society and its use in health care has rapidly expanded in recent years. "Live Tweeting" of professional meetings is a growing way for participants to communicate with peers. The goal of this study was to analyze the initial experience with implementation of a Twitter Team at the 2013 Academic Surgical Congress (ASC).

Materials and methods: Four ASC attendees were designated as the "Twitter Team" for the 2013 meeting. Organizational leadership prominently promoted the unique meeting hashtag (#2013ASC). Twdocs and TweetReach were used to aggregate data 1 wk after the meeting.

Results: A total of 58 independent users posted tweets with the #2013ASC hashtag during the week of the meeting. Total tweets numbered 434, with 288 original tweets. Of the 37 users who were identifiable individuals, 19 were in attendance at the ASC; 18 of the identifiable individuals were members of either the Association for Academic Surgery and/or the Society of University Surgeons. The ASC Twitter Team was responsible for 76% of all #2013ASC tweets. The three most common content areas for tweets were promotional (147), content related from presidential sessions (96), and social (75).

Conclusions: Twitter provides a meaningful social media format for sharing information during academic surgical meetings. The use of Twitter sharply expands the available audience for meeting proceedings and broadens the discussion venue for scholarly activity. "Tweeting the meeting" represents an important future direction for information dissemination in academic surgery.

Keywords: Academic Surgical Congress; CME; Social media; Twitter.

MeSH terms

  • General Surgery*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Internet*
  • Social Media*