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Comparing the digital footprint of pulmonary and critical care conferences on Twitter

Carroll, Christopher L., Kaul, Viren, Dangayach, Neha S., Szakmany, Tamas, Winter, Gretchen, Khateeb, Dina, Carlos, W. Graham and Kudchadkar, Sapna R. 2021. Comparing the digital footprint of pulmonary and critical care conferences on Twitter. ATS Scholar 2 (3) , 432–441. 10.34197/ats-scholar.2021-0041OC

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Background: Pulmonary and critical care societies, including the American Thoracic Society, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine have large memberships that gather at academic conference events, attracting thousands of attendees. Objective: With the growth of social media use among pulmonary and critical care clinicians, our goal was to examine the Twitter presence and digital footprint of these three major medical society conferences. Methods: We used Symplur Signals (Symplur, LLC) to track the tweets and most active participants of the 2017–2019 annual conferences of American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Attendance records of participants were obtained from each society. Results: During the study period, there was growth in the number of tweets, participants, and impressions for all three society conferences. Across all conferences, the amount of original content generated was less than the retweets, which comprised 50–72% of all tweets. Individuals physically attending each conference were more likely to post original content than those not in attendance (53–68% vs. 32–47%). For each society and at each meeting, clinicians made up the largest group of participants (44–60%), and most (59–82%) were physicians. A small cohort of participants was responsible for a large share of the tweets, with more than half of the participants at each conference for each society tweeting only once and only between 5–8% of participants tweeting more than 10 times. Seventy-eight individuals tweeted more than 100 times at one or more of the conferences. There was significant overlap in this group, with 32 of these individual participants tweeting more than 100 times at two or more of these conferences. Conclusion: Growth in conference digital footprints is largely due to increased activity by a small group of prolific participants that attend conferences by multiple academic societies. Original content makes up the smallest proportion of posts, suggesting that amplification of content is more prevalent than posting of original content. In a postpandemic environment, engagement of users producing original content may be even more important for medical societies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License 4.0.
Publisher: American Thoracic Society
ISSN: 2690-7097
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 9 July 2021
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 10:15

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