What is Live Tweeting?
Live tweeting is when you tweet about an event while you’re there.
You can harness conference hashtags, like #EpiLifestyle19 for the upcoming Epi | Lifestyle Scientific Sessions in Houston, or this past year’s #AHA18 Scientific Sessions in Chicago, to group your tweets with others and help people follow along.
Live tweeting doesn’t mean typing out every word a speaker is saying.
Tweet the name of the presentation and the speaker, the energy of the room, or your big takeaway.
What’s the “so what?” behind the presentation? What did you find most interesting?
You also don’t have to tweet in the moment.
Write down some of your thoughts, and after the session, write up your summary tweet.
Why Live Tweet?
Tweeting short comments at a conference presentation or seminar let’s your followers tune in, like they’re sitting there with you.
The conference had 800 attendees, and only a handful of people tweeted.
But those handful of people produced 500 tweets with the conference hashtag, and those 500 tweets reached 80,000 people.
Can you imagine how many people we’d reach at a bigger AHA conference with meeting reporters live tweeting from nearly every session?
Not only does live tweeting make followers feel like they’re there, but it stimulates discussion as people comment, asking questions, offering their own thoughts, and connecting to other science resources.
In his article “The Challenges of Conference Blogging”, Daniel MacArthur reminded us of the purpose of presenting science at conferences.
Why do we do it?
To promote discussion about our science.
To expand our own influence for future job opportunities and collaborations.
Live tweeting at conferences achieves these things – with the added benefit of concise science communication that expands both the reach of the science but also the understanding.
Tips for Live Tweeting
- Live tweeting doesn’t have to be a play-by-play of the talk. Don’t worry about tweeting every single word. Instead, think about what theme or finding resonates the most with you. Tweet about that!
- Visuals make any tweet that much more engaging. Use high quality, free stock photos from unsplash.com or www.rawpixel.com along with your post, or search online for a corresponding paper or faculty webpage to link in. Many people snap a pic of the slides or the speaker on stage – just be sure to check with conference policies before posting photos.
- Search for the speaker on Twitter so you can tag them with their handle (preceded by @). One of the best ways to do this is to use a search engine with their full name, and “Twitter”. If nothing comes up, try tagging their institution. Many schools of medicine, hospital departments, and universities have Twitter accounts. If you know you’ll be reporting on a session in advance, you can look up these handles beforehand.
For examples of live tweets, search previous conference hashtags on Twitter, like #AHA18, #EpiLifestyle18, #QCOR18, or your council’s Scientific Sessions hashtag.
To learn more about using social media for science communication, with more tips for tweeting and blogging, be sure to come to the Epi Early Career session on Friday March 8th, 7 – 8:30 am in the Galleria Ballroom, Westin Galleria, Houston, TX at Epi | Lifestyles Scientific Sessions 2019.
Bailey DeBarmore is an epidemiology doctoral student at UNC Chapel Hill, studying the intersection of epidemiology methods and clinical point of care. She is interested in chronic disease surveillance and use of electronic health records in research. She tweets @BaileyDeBarmore and blogs at baileydebarmore.com. Find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.