Albert Jiao, MS3, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
@AlbertJiaoIR, SIR MSC PRCC, SIR RFS Social Media Manager
We’ve all heard of Twitter. And if you’ve been to any event related to interventional radiology, you’ve heard of #TwittIR. Maybe you chose to join the discussion – or maybe you have a general distrust of social media after your medical school warned you to never post anything online. Either way, you probably have some questions about how to best take advantage of this amazing tool to get involved in IR early. This article is meant to be a simple guide to help you answer these questions and jump start your journey to using Twitter professionally in the IR realm – much of the information you’ll probably already know (especially if you’ve used Twitter before), so feel free to skip over those portions!
What exactly is #TwittIR?
I like to think of #TwittIR as a sort of “sphere” that encompasses all things IR on Twitter. This includes program directors, attendings, fellows, staff, nurses, physician assistants, interns, technicians, medical students, and more. Physicians will post interesting cases with accompanying images to help teach and guide their colleagues. IR programs tweet about events and other news. Everyone contributes to discussion about the future of IR and how we can propel interventional radiology to the next level.
Why should I join?
Exposure, education, and discussion. There is a huge amount of knowledge that can be gained simply by browsing IR Twitter. So much cutting-edge radiology content is routinely tweeted, and can help you stay current with the literature. Many accounts are geared toward medical student education and can help you learn the basics as well. Because many residency programs have their own Twitter account, you can learn more about their program in particular, which may help in interviews. Moreover, it is an easy way to meet/build relationships with fellow students and young physicians interested in IR.
How do I join #TwittIR?
Download the Twitter app, get a Twitter account, and start posting about IR! If you already have a personal Twitter account, it would probably be a good idea to get a professional account as well. Because all your followers can see your tweets, this potentially means that a program director or attending can more easily see your miscellaneous late-night ramblings on Twitter. Otherwise, it really is as simple as making an account and jumping right into the discussion.
How do I tweet?
Tap on the blue pen icon on the bottom right of the screen.
Then, you can just start typing! You get 280 characters per tweet. Most of these characters will be dedicated to whatever content/message you want to convey, and the rest will be tags or hashtags to help others find your content. For example, if the content you post is related to medical education, you can use “#MedEd” so that if anyone searches “MedEd” or taps “#MedEd” they could potentially find your content and like it/retweet it. There are also icons to add a photo, GIF, poll, or location at the bottom of the tweet.
If you have one of these related to your content, it is a good way to increase interaction. If you find you need more characters for your tweet, the blue icon with a + sign allows you to start a second tweet which will then be linked to your first tweet. Additionally, you can comment, retweet, like, or share content that you see on your feed.
This lets you put out more content that your followers may want to see. There’s definitely an art to tweeting, but practice makes perfect!
How do I get more likes/followers?
The golden question! It’s definitely hard to get likes and followers (and therefore exposure) as a medical student. When you first start out on Twitter, make sure you’re following many different accounts that you’re interested in. Many people will follow you back, especially if they see on your bio/profile picture that you’re an enthusiastic medical student. Then, after that, make sure you’re interacting on Twitter! Don’t be afraid to comment and tweet often, as people will see your content and retweet it. Naturally, your following should grow, although this obviously may take some time. Also, there are certain types of posts that often get more likes. For example, posts with photos are generally more easily seen and interesting to people, so they often garner more impressions and likes. Overall though, it’s a lot simpler than you think: just use the platform!
Anatomy of a Tweet: What makes a tweet stronger? What are some techniques to maximize exposure?
- Use of images draws more attention to individual tweet
- Use of hashtags related to subject matter (#RSNARFC) lets people know you are involved in radiology and IR!
- Tagging physicians encourages people to engage directly!
- Tells others you are on your IR rotation – many people are interested in medical student education. People are excited for you!
- Asking for tips helps show engagement and benefits your personal learning
- Tags other individuals to elicit replies and start conversation – don’t be afraid to tag attendings/PDs
- Commenting and replying to others shows continued engagement
How can I tell how many people are seeing my tweets?
There are 5 icons under each tweet after you post it. From left to right, they go comment, retweet, like, share, and tweet activity.
From tweet activity, you can see how many impressions and total engagements your post had. Impressions are defined as times people saw the Tweet, while total engagements show the times people interacted with the tweet. Tapping into the total engagements gives even more data, such as media engagements or profile clicks. You can use these measures to see what types of posts work best for you.
What types of content should I be posting? I don’t think many people would be interested in what a medical student has to say…
On the contrary, people are EXTREMELY interested in the medical student/trainee perspective. Lots of program directors and attendings aren’t directly involved in undergraduate medical education, and they love to learn how it changes. Post about your medical school/extracurriculars/research opportunities/study strategies and whatever you can think of related to medicine! People also enjoy hearing about medical student IR symposiums so don’t be afraid to advertise for your IRIG’s events on your personal account as well. If you’re currently on rotations, see if you can post about a particular case you experienced – it doesn’t necessarily have to be about IR, but obviously if you can tie in IR it’ll be even better. Keep an eye out for interesting and novel research you can tweet and retweet – bonus points if it’s your own research! Finally, if you are attending a conference like #SIR19ATX, get your phone out and snap some photos to show everyone what a great experience you’re having, and include a description of the talk that you’re attending.
Aren’t you scared of a HIPAA violation?
Honestly, as a medical student, you probably won’t be posting too many cases simply because IR exposure is minimal unless you are on the IR rotation (and it’s sometimes awkward to ask to post a particular case). That being said, if you do have the opportunity to post a case, follow all the rules your medical school taught you about HIPAA and follow common sense: no PHI! That means no names, no birth dates, nothing that could be used to identify who the patient is. Also, you can take a look at how other physicians post their cases and follow their example. Think of it as a mini case report or tiny publication.
What if I offend a program director or attending? I’m scared of interacting with them on social media!
Again, use your discretion. When you talk to an attending in person on your rotations, you are respectful and probably have certain mannerisms developed for those interactions. Try to convey this same respect and cautiousness through social media! That being said, most physicians on Twitter are very friendly and use it as a tool to teach. This means they love talking to students on Twitter – remember, simply being on Twitter means you want others to interact with you. Never be afraid to respectfully interact with a PD or attending!
What are some good accounts to follow?
- @SIRspecialists – Society of Interventional Radiology
- @RadiologyACR – American College of Radiology
- @SIRRFS – SIR Resident Fellow Section
- @SIR_ECS – SIR Early Career Section
- @ASNR – American Society of Neuroradiology
- @VascularSVS – Society for Vascular Surgery
- @The_ASPNR – American Society of Pediatric Neuroradiology
- @socpedsir – Society of Pediatric Interventional Radiology
- @RSNA – Radiological Society of North America
- @ARRS_Radiology – American Roentgen Ray Society
- @JVIRmedia – Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
- @CVIR_Journal – Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
- @radiology_rsna – Radiology
- @ELS_Radiology – Elsevier Radiology
- @Applied_Rad – Applied Radiology
- @NEJM – New England Journal of Medicine
- @JAMA_current – JAMA
- @bmj_latest – The BMJ
- @StudentBMJ – Student BMJ
- @TheLancet -The Lancet
- @cochranecollab – Cochrane
- @RadiologySigns – Radiology Signs
- @Radiopaedia – Radiopaedia
- @radsigns – Learning Radiology
- @radRounds – radRounds Radiology
- @FOAMrad – Free Open Access Radiology Education
- @radRounds_Net – radRounds networking
- @The_Sound_of_IR – The Sound of IR
- @_backtable – BackTable
What are the hashtags I can use?
And that’s it! Don’t forget that Twitter is meant to be fun, so don’t overthink your time online. Everyone is on there to help and educate you as you begin your adventure in interventional radiology. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to shoot me a DM (direct message) on Twitter or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to #TwittIR!