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Preparing for a conference? Don't forget to pack the social media.


Returned home a week ago from the SoCRA Annual Conference, and still digesting. The conference specializes in delivering training content companies can feel confident sending their staff to receive. One of the plenary speakers was Cancer Research Advocate Leslie Hammersmith speaking on the “The +1 Patient: Social Media and the Disease Experience.”  Patients are on social media, in particular Twitter, but clinical research professionals are not.  I'm here to discuss what these professionals are missing:

Health 2.0, and the Society for Clinical Data Management gathered on the same weekend. These conferences didn't touch attendees at SoCRA (less than five of whom were participating on Twitter).  SoCRA attendees did not touch the conversation in the next room. One attendee said to me, “I wish I could go to one session and know what is going on in another session!” If you attend a conference where participants are engaged and generous on Twitter, knowing what is going on in every room of the conference is exactly what happens.

The number one reason clinical research professionals tell me they are not on Twitter is that they are tired. It just so happens that during the SoCRA conference, an article appeared in the New York Times about the burdens of continuing education. We’re not just tired, we are exhausted.

Twitter is one of the best solutions to that exhaustion. Imagine developing a network that curates the information you need for you. When you take time off work to attend a conference, you attend four conferences at once.  Instead of listening passively to a speaker, you interpret and interact with your colleagues. This solution already exists, but the value for you and for others is only there if you are there.

To facilitate expanding the reach of clinical research professionals on Twitter, I have prepared slidecasts on increasing your engagement with Twitter.  Become a Twitter lurker by listening to presentation #1.