Junior Members News - January 2012

By Ves Dimov, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
University of Chicago, Illinois (USA)


From the Editor: This month the WAO Junior Members Group shares a valuable tip for staying informed by connecting with other physicians and organizations through Twitter. We encourage you to TAKE THE CHALLENGE offered by Dr. Dimov later in this article. 


How to use Twitter to keep track of the latest news and scientific meetings, and share information with colleagues and patients

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a simple social network with more than 250 millions users. I’m one of them. My @DrVes account is ranked #3 as the most influential in medicine worldwide, and #6 among all users in Chicago. Every time I hit that blue “Tweet” button, a message goes to 10,000 people. Then the “re-tweets” (or repostings of my tweet by other users) start, and that little 140-character tweet gets a life of its own and reverberates through the minds of tens of thousands of some of the smartest people in the world.

Social media services are quickly becoming the place to share the news of the latest studies or ask research questions.

I learn something new on Twitter every day, but the idea behind it is not new. Twitter, and other social media services, have replaced the ages-old tradition of socializing in “physicians’ dining room.” They are now the place to share the news of the latest studies or ask questions such as “which probiotic supplement to use if the patient also has milk allergy?” (a real question from an allergists’ group on LinkedIn).

How to Start Using Twitter

Go to http://twitter.com, enter your name, email and a new password for Twitter. That’s all.

What to Do On Twitter

Follow some of the more than 100 allergists on Twitter. When you find something interesting among the tweets of the top allergists (and I’m sure you will), feel free to share it with your network by clicking the “retweet” button. It’s really that simple.

Twitter is not only for following the messages of individuals. Organizations, conferences and journals also have Twitter accounts. A list of the top Twitter accounts related to allergy/immunology is available at the end of this article.

Highly tweeted journal articles are 11 times morelikely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles.

Number of Tweets Predicts Future Citations of a Specific Journal Article

Twitter is becoming essential for both authors and publishers of scientific literature. Highly tweeted journal articles are 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles. Top-cited articles could be predicted from top-tweeted articles with 93% specificity and 75% sensitivity. A "twimpact" factor is proposed that measures uptake and filters research resonating with the public in real time (Med Internet Res 2011;13(4):e123. http://www.jmir.org/2011/4/e123).

Twitter is a Powerful Distribution Channel

Twitter not only offers a painless way to stay up-to-date but it is also a powerful distribution channel. Here is an example: during the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI), 400 people attended the conference. The tweets of the CSACI president reached 16,000 people!

Stuart Carr (@allergydoc4kidz), President of CSACI, posted updates from the different lectures he attended at 2011 CSACI and was able to captivate the attention of a global audience, thus extending the reach of his organization well beyond the walls of the conference hall.

Are You Up for a Challenge?

Here is my challenge for you:

Let’s select 10 allergists or fellows-in-training who will post updates from different scientific sessions during the next allergy scientific meeting – AAAAI (March 2012), EAACI (June 2012), ACAAI (November 2012) or WISC (December 2012).

If 10 members post 10 tweets, the resulting 100 tweets, labeled with a hashtag (for example, #AAAAI), will have a far reaching impact. The tweets will be summarized in blog posts, ensuring a high Google Page Rank
(send an email to me at allergycases@gmail.com if interested).

Social media is fast becoming the dominant way of information consumption and sharing for patients.

To quote John Noseworthy, M.D., the CEO of the Mayo Clinic: "The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered. Social media makes the union of forces more broadly practical than at any time in human history."

Social media is fast becoming the dominant way of information consumption and sharing for patients. Allergists who share their expertise through social media will stay relevant and provide meaningful service to general public and their patients. Join us!

Twitter Accounts of Individual Allergists

@JuanCIvancevich (Juan C. Ivancevich, MD of Buenos Aires and WAO Web Editor-in-Chief)

@wheezemd (Michael Blaiss, MD, member of the WAO Board of Directors, Past President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology)

@AllergyNet (John Weiner, allergist, clinical immunologist, Melbourne, Australia)

@DrStanFineman, Stan Fineman, President of ACAAI

@janlotvall, Jan Lotvall, President of EAACI

@allergydoc4kidz, Stuart Carr, President of CSACI

@DrSilge (Robert Silge, MD, allergist/immunologist, Salt Lake City, Utah)

@MatthewBowdish (Matthew Bowdish MD, allergist/clinical immunologist, Colorado)

@allergistmommy (Sakina Bajowala, MD, allergist/immunologist, Chicago, Illinois)

@Allergy (Ves Dimov, MD, Allergist/Immunologist, University of Chicago, Web Content Editor, WAO Small Airways Working Group)

 Twitter Accounts of Allergy/Immunology Organizations and Publications

@worldallergy, World Allergy Organization (WAO)

@WAOjournal, The World Allergy Organization Journal

@jacionline, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is the official publication of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). The journal often posts links to their free articles on Twitter.

@ACAAI, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

@EAACI_HQ, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

@Interasma, Interasma is an international health organization focused on all aspects of asthma