I had been using Twitter for a while but I never experienced the true power of this social media platform. It was a cold call from @VerranDeborah and @juliomayol when I started to notice the hashtag #SoMe4Surgery. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the active engagement of the #SoMe4Surgery participants. After participating in a #SoMe4Surgery live conversation event on #surgicalinfection, I finally realized the potential impact of a simple hashtag.
While I was amazed by how #SoMe4Surgery brought the surgical community together, many of the topics being discussed were not entirely relevant or specific to a urologist per se. I felt the need of a hashtag specific to Urology, and I quickly started to conceptualize and plan ahead in building up the #UroSoMe community. The #UroSoMe twitter account was officially registered in August 2018.
#UroSoMe stands for ‘Urology Social Media’. My initial thought about #UroSoMe was simple. I wanted to develop a hashtag specific to urology. I wanted to increase public awareness about different urological conditions. Most importantly, I wanted to bring the urology community closer together through this social media platform. I believe there is so much for us to learn from each other, and such interactions should never be bounded by physical or geographical restrictions. Coincidentally, I was invited to talk about social media at the 27th Malaysian Urological Conference 2018, and I decided to take this opportunity to introduce #UroSoMe to the urology community.
The initial response from the audience was promising. Even after the meeting, many urologists came to me for in-depth discussions about the opportunities and applications of social media in urology. I felt that #UroSoMe might really work and it was time to gather more people to establish the community. The first invitation sent in on 14 December 2018, which I often regard as the ‘start date’ of the #UroSoMe community.
By inviting and encouraging people around to use a common hashtag, the #UroSoMe community keeps growing. With increasing momentum, the first #LiveCaseDiscussions was planned. It was a pre-planned event for urologists to get ‘online’ and discuss about some posted cases. A polling had been held in advance, and the topic to be discussed was chosen to be ‘Stone’.
The #LiveCaseDiscussions was on air at 4pm (CET) on 5 January 2019. A total of 9 cases had been presented and discussed. Hosting this event was overwhelming with vigorous discussions among the participants. It took approximately 2 hours to ‘complete’ the event, but the conversations went on for the next few days. Special thanks must be given to the most active users. #UroSoMe and the first #LiveCaseDiscussions would never be successful without their tremendous support.
The immediate effect of the #UroSoMe #LiveCaseDiscussions event was overwhelming. This graph represents a network of 515 twitter users whose tweets contained the hashtag #UroSoMe. 6692 mentions, 1044 retweets and 617 replies were recorded within a 10-day period from 27 December 2018 to 6 January 2019. From a social science point of view, this picture represents a ‘tight crowd’, in which discussions are characterized by highly interconnected people with few isolated participants. I guess this is exactly how we feel about the urology community!
Apart from #LiveCaseDiscussions, the #UroSoMe working group is also keen to host events including #LiveForum, #LiveJournalClub and #LiveTeaching. This is only the beginning of #UroSoMe and we believe there is huge potential to be explored. It is only with your support that #UroSoMe can continue to grow. We look forward to meeting you on Twitter and, hopefully, at #EAU19 and #AUA19 as well!
P.S. I must thank @juliomayol for the inspiration of #UroSoMe, @gmacscotland for his teaching on social media analytics, and @marc_smith for his support in NodeXL.
About the author:
Jeremy Teoh (@jteoh_hk) is a Urologist based in Hong Kong, China.
The #UroSoMe working group:
@jteoh_hk, @adelmesbah2, @BelloteMateus, @DocGauhar, @DrTortolero, @D_Castellani, @EdgarLindenMD, @EIvanBravoC, @HegeltS, @JontxuM, @gudaruk, @MarcelaPelayo, @RdonalisioMD, @Urologeman, @wroclawski_uro and @zainaladwin.