(This is the third post in a series leading up to the TCT 2017 Conference, find the first post here and second post here.)

The TCT meeting is one of the most engaged medical meetings for Interventionalists (Interventional Cardiologists, Vascular Surgeons, Interventional Radiologists and other relevant specialties) on social media. In 2016, we tracked 3,500+ TCT tweets from over 500 Physicians in the MDigitalLife database, up 80% from the 2015 conference. We expect to see another sizable increase in conversation as physicians increasingly employ social media as a means of connecting with colleagues across geographic and specialty boundaries. (See the below graph showing increase in physician conversation on twitter since 2009.)

Paying attention to the online conversation is vitally important. As our friend Dr. Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) says when asked why folks should be a part of the online conversation:

  1. Think Publicly – When you think out loud, people see you.
  2. People Will Want to Talk – When people see you, they want to talk to you.
  3. When People Talk, Things Happen. – Couldn’t agree more Doctor V!

Whether you’re an Interventionalist attending TCT or you have a stake in interventional cardiovascular medicine as a patient, advocate or industry employee, you would be wise to pay attention to, and engage with, the conversations happening online next week. To that end, we’ll focus the remainder of this post on a few key tips to get started on social and engage in TCT conversation.

How Do I Get Started on Twitter?

First off you need a twitter account. If you already have one, awesome, go ahead and skip to the next section. If you need to set up an account, then we’ve got you covered here. First, go to Twitter.com/SignUp and create your account. Be sure to create a handle that incorporates your real name or company name, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative with it! Make sure to use an appropriate high-quality photograph of yourself and write a clear, simple bio that includes a little of your personality so people can get to know you. And it’s generally helpful to link back to a page that gives people more info about you (for example, about.me/Steven_Cutbirth) or the organization you represent. Lastly, if your organization requires, or you feel more comfortable doing so, you can include the magic words: “all opinions are my own”.

How Do I Connect with the TCT Community online?

The simplest way to find the TCT conversation is to search for the hashtag #TCT2017 or #TCTDenver. In the past the community used variations of #TCT2016, but @TCTConference confirmed this year the official hashtag will be #TCTDenver. Most likely there will be some folks who still use variations of the old hashtags so you can use a custom twitter search to pull in all posts using any variation of #TCT like this: #TCTDENVER OR #TCT2017 OR #TCT17. If you follow that link or enter the search query into twitter’s search bar you will see a stream of relevant TCT posts sorted by time.

Beyond using the official hashtags, you can also use custom hashtags to engage in sub-conversations around specific procedures or conditions. To give you an idea of the hashtags Physicians used in conjunction with #TCT2016 we pulled a list of most frequently used hashtags below:

Utilizing hashtags on this list is one of the best ways to connect with others around topics you are passionate about. To that end, be sure to check out the recent post from Amit K. Gupta, MD: Why All Interventionalists Should Be On Twitter. Dr. Gupta has shared some excellent tips for interventionalists! If you’re attending TCT in person, sharing relevant photos is an excellent way to establish yourself as a key member in the online conversation. When tweeting, be sure to attach your photo and if you choose, tag up to 10 people in the photo who may be interested in the topic you’re sharing (does not count toward 140-character limit). This will notify them of your post and increase your chances of engagement. And be sure to check the TCT social media policy before sharing photos and videos from the meeting.

Lastly, you can follow this twitter list to see what the TCT social media faculty are sharing and read our first two blogs (Blog 1 & Blog 2) which go into more detail on some great accounts to follow throughout TCT.

 Don’t miss the Social Media in Cardiology Series at TCT 2017!

If you are attending TCT this year, be sure to join the “Social Media in Cardiology” series on Nov. 1. Our own, Greg Matthews (@chimoose) will be speaking on Social Media: The New Platform for Influence in Interventional Cardiology at 1:05pm. Greg will use next-generation analytical tools to reveal current trends of exchanges between interventional cardiologists within social media, which interventional cardiologists are most influential among their peers, and the most debated interventional topics online in 2017 to date.

And Look for our 4th installment in this series, previewing exclusive data from Greg’s upcoming session next week.

Follow Steven Cutbirth on twitter @SvenC; Follow MDigitalLife on twitter @MDigitalLife; Like MDigitalLife on Facebook 

To learn more about how the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database can reshape the way you interact with doctors, patients, the media & all the important stakeholders of your healthcare company, learn more here.