Analysis of the use and impact of Twitter during American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meetings from 2011 to 2016: Focus on advanced metrics and user trends


Aurora Research Institute


PURPOSE: The use of social media, in particular Twitter, has substantially increased among health care stakeholders in the field of hematology and oncology, with an especially sharp increase in the use of Twitter during times of major national meetings. The most attended meeting in the oncology field is the ASCO annual meeting. Little is known about the detailed metrics involved in the use, volume, and impact of Twitter during the ASCO annual meeting.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of tweets during the ASCO annual meetings from 2011 to 2016. The total data set encompassed 190,732 tweets from 39,745 authors over six consecutive ASCO meetings from 2011 to 2016 (inclusive). Tweets, all publically available, were collected by Nephrology On-Demand Analytics.

RESULTS: The number of individual authors increased from 1,429 during the 2011 ASCO meeting to 15,796 during the 2016 ASCO meeting, an 11-fold increase over the total 5-year period. There was a notable increase in tweets from the 2011 ASCO meeting (n = 7,746) to the 2016 ASCO meeting (n = 72,698), a nine-fold increase during the study period. The most commonly tweeted term or topic changed over time, generally reflecting the breakthroughs of each designated year; these terms were "melanoma" for both the 2011 and 2012 ASCO meetings; "breast cancer" for the 2013 ASCO meeting; "lung cancer" for the 2014 ASCO meeting; and "ImmunOnc" or "immunotherapy/immuno-oncology" for both the 2015 and 2016 ASCO meetings.

CONCLUSION: The use of Twitter among health care stakeholders during the ASCO meeting has markedly increased over time, demonstrating the increasing role of social media in the dissemination of findings at the most highly attended hematology and oncology conference of the year.

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