avneet Majhail, better known as @BldCancerDoc on Twitter, shares his experience with the use of this social medial platform and how Twitter can be used for professional purposes.
Could you please present yourself as Navneet Majhail and as @BldCancerDoc?
In the physical world, I am the Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, USA. I also serve as Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. I am a father, a husband and a dog owner. In the Twitterverse, I have a cloud identity @BldCancerDoc, where I focus on issues related to malignant hematology, blood and marrow transplantation, cancer survivorship, healthcare delivery and health policy. I also use this social media platform to share my day to day observations and reflections as a physician.
- When did your love-story with Twitter start?
I can clearly remember that fateful day when I fell in love with Twitter. I had been toying with the idea for a while but finally took the plunge right before the American Society of Hematology meeting in December 2014. I have to admit that it has always been a one-sided “affair”; Twitter has to share its love with its millions of “followers” – but I have come to accept this reality. Also, I must say that it was not love at first sight, but I have warmed up to Twitter over time as we grew more familiar with each other. It was a tumultuous relationship in the beginning, where some days were good while on other days I despised it as I could not pay attention to anything else. I think we have a nice balance now, and it helps that my wife has reconciled with this other “person” in my life.
- You have described yourself as a Twitter addict, is that true?
Yes, it can be a bit of an addiction, but it fluctuates from day to day. The addiction worsens when I am trying to do something that I really don’t want to do, when I am on a conference call, or when my wife is telling me something I really don’t want to listen to (side note: ignore wife + focus on Twitter = disaster). It improves when I have a very busy day, for example, the days when I am in clinic seeing patients or rounding on the inpatient service.
- How would you describe your experience with Twitter at the EBMT Annual Meeting?
Things were a bit slow to start with, but the #EBMT15 Twittersphere got very active by the second day. @Mothy_EBMT was a Twitter champion from the start and really worked hard to make sure everyone remained engaged in the cloud (this was obviously in addition to making sure the physical meeting went well). I think we got some people excited about Twitter – some colleagues who were rather passive before were actively tweeting at the meeting (e.g., @AratMutlu). We got some colleagues to sign up and use Twitter (e.g., @BipinSavani). I became tweeps with many BMT colleagues from Europe. The use of social media in medical conferences is an evolving process. I anticipate more activity next year as more of our colleagues become comfortable and familiar with Twitter. In the meantime, the EBMT can continue its focus on facilitating social media interactions at the meeting.
- You were a speaker at the special session on Social Media. What would be your main take-home messages?
I would like to emphasize: (1) Whether we like it or not, social media has become an integral part of our professional and personal lives – embrace it and use it to your advantage, (2) Twitter has some advantages over other social media platforms for professional use as it is simple, quick, very intuitive and gives you more control over the content, (3) Twitter is an effective way to follow, curate and keep up to date with information – about scientific literature, professional societies, and experts in the field, and (4) there are several ways of using social media – choose what works best for you – decide where you want to be on the social media ladder, where your involvement can range from being a passive observer to an active developer of content. Finally, you never know where Twitter will take you – I ended up in Istanbul for #EBMT15!
- Would you say that Twitter is as popular in Europe as it is in the USA?
I don’t feel there is a big difference in the popularity of Twitter across the two continents. The use of social media among medical professionals is not very prevalent in both places. In the field of BMT, there are more “active” Twitter users in the USA than in Europe and that gives the perception that this social media platform is more popular west of the Atlantic. Having said that, Prof Mohty @Mohty_EBMT is a very prolific tweeter and he probably puts out as many tweets as all of the BMT tweeters in the USA combined.
Among the non-medical population, Twitter is fairly popular in Europe and possibly even more popular than the USA. As an example, Twitter analyzed the use of “I love you” on Valentine’s Day 2015 across the globe in 100 different languages and ranked countries by tweets per million population (https://blog.twitter.com/2015/love-across-the-twittersphere-0
). Most European countries ranked higher than the USA, which was #50 on the list. Cupid most likely lives in Sweden, as the Swedes were the most love struck of all! Turkey, the host of #EBMT15, also did pretty well and was #6 on the list. A prominent European country that was less romantic than the USA (at least on Twitter) was England, which came in at #51.
- How would you encourage the EBMT members to become Twitter users in order to grow the BMT Community?
If you can take care of transplant patients, you can easily use Twitter! As I mentioned in my presentation, just as age is no longer a contraindication for transplant, age is not a barrier to using Twitter. The first thing to do is to sign up, which takes less than a minute. Try it out, use it, and decide how it is best going to work for you. Follow some of our more prolific BMT tweeps to get a feel for how we are using it, and then determine what is right for you. Some suggestions for BMT colleagues to follow include (with sincerest apologies to people I have missed): @marrow, @Mohty_EBMT, @DrMiguelPerales, @Transplant_Doc, @drkomanduri, @JJ_boelens, @hemedoc, @mtmdphd and @timfenske. Also consider following our BMT organizations, including @TheEBMT, @CIBMTR and @ASBMT.
Please click on the following link to view Navneet's presentation during the special session on Social Media: