Several months ago, I was browsing my Twitter feed and came across a tweet from @MillennialEYE, encouraging millennial ophthalmologists to attend the inaugural MillennialEYE Live meeting, designed for the “future leaders in ophthalmology.” As a current ophthalmology resident, I figured what better way to understand the future of ophthalmology than to engage with and listen to its millennial leaders.
I enthusiastically registered for the meeting and soon found myself in Austin, Texas, at ME Live. As a physician blogger, Twitter aficionado (@eyesteve), and advocate for greater social media involvement by physicians, you can imagine my excitement when MillennialEYE Chief Medical Editor and ME Live Program Chair George O. Waring IV, MD, FACS, welcomed attendees by encouraging the use of the designated Twitter hashtag, #MELiveAustin. Dr. Waring then proceeded to take and tweet a selfie with the other ME Live Program Chairs on stage; display the live Twitter feed housed within the ME Live meeting app; and state that, unlike at other meetings, the use of smartphones during ME Live was highly encouraged and that the Twitter feed would be a primary forum for interactive engagement among attendees.
During the 3 days of ME Live, the Twitter feed was displayed on large screens between presentations, throughout lunch breaks, and during expert panel Q&A sessions.
Here are a few of the #MELiveAustin Twitter feed highlights, comprising tweets posted during the 3 days of the meeting and the 2 days before and after the meeting:
- 728 tweets from 104 individuals
- Eight ophthalmologists sent their first tweet
- 254 retweets (35% of total tweets), also known as RTs, wherein one Twitter user resends an already published tweet to all of his or her respective followers
- 44% of tweets sent from five users (@MillennialEYE, @cat_refract, @eyesteve, @cathyeye, and @tbogetti), demonstrating the majority of Twitter content generated by a small number of users
- 337,466 potential Twitter impressions, indicating the number of tweets that were delivered to Twitter users’ streams, exposing Twitter users worldwide to content shared at the meeting
I believe it is worth highlighting the social media success of this inaugural meeting of Millennial Eye Live for a number of reasons.
- Successful social media campaigns must include support from the leaders within the organization. The leaders of Millennial Eye Live clearly stated that the Twitter feed would play an active role in the meeting, and that participants were not just encouraged, but expected to join the Twitter conversation
- Meetings should display the Twitter feed during before and after the meeting each day and during breaks. Twitter users love the positive reinforcement of seeing their tweets displayed to the meeting audience, and only be demonstrating that the non-Twitter users are missing out on the conversation happening on Twitter will they be motivated to join themselves
- Meeting organizers should register the conference hashtag on symplur.com to allow easy tracking of Twitter use to provide daily updates of Twitter use and track data for internal or research purposes
- Academic, scientific, and medical meetings are an optimal time for Twitter novices to get their feet wet and test the waters of social media
- A well-established social media campaign, supported by its Tweeting leaders and IT infrastructure can exponentially disseminate information and reach thousands of potential future meeting participants, creating the “buzz” that both gets people talking and gets people attending!