Twitter is the ultimate conference tool. If you don’t already have a Twitter account, maybe now’s the time to take the plunge? It’s really straightforward.
- Download the Twitter app from the app store on your smart device and sign up for an account.
The “Full name” that you provide will be your display name, but unlike Facebook, you can change your display name to whatever you want as many times as you want.
- Pick a username you like. That will be the “handle” that appears next to all your tweets. It’s also the way other users find you on Twitter, and include you in conversations. They do this by typing @ in front of your user name in a tweet, e.g. the College can be found, followed and contacted with the handle @ANZCA.
- Provide your mobile phone number. This is a handy form of authentication that will help in case you ever lose access to your account.
- Pick an avatar (profile picture). The default picture is an egg, but you can make your avatar whatever you want. Be sure to read Twitter’s rules for avatar images to make sure what you pick is not in violation. The recommended dimensions are 400×400 pixels but it will tell you if your image is too big or small.
- Write your bio. This is the short blurb that lets potential followers know who you are and what you’re likely to tweet. You may wish to list things like where you work, live, your speciality and interests. Twitter only allows you 160 characters in which to describe yourself, so it’s a good introduction to the art of micro-blogging! (You can always come back to this step later if you prefer – sometimes it helps to see what your peers have done).
- Finish off your profile by uploading a background image (AKA header photo) – this appears at the top of your Twitter page. The recommended dimensions are 1500×500 pixels. Again, not critical to make your account live.
Once you’ve set yourself up with a Twitter account, the next step is to “join the community”. Don’t worry, you don’t have to start tweeting yet if you don’t feel ready to. This is about building your network.
Start by following some key accounts. You can do this by clicking on the “handles” below and then clicking “follow”.
- @ANZCA (the official ANZCA account).
- @ANZCA_FPM (the official Faculty of Pain Medicine account).
- @CTN_ANZCA (the official account for the ANZCA Clinical Trials Network).
- @GKMuseum (the official account for the Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History).
- @ScottDav44 (ANZCA President Professor David A Scott’s personal account).
Next, subscribe to three “lists” we’ve set up under the ANZCA account. A list is a curated group of Twitter accounts.
Finally, here are some hashtags to look at. Hashtags (#) are used to index keywords or topics and allow users to easily follow topics they are interested in. This can include events, and most conferences now – including the ASM and Refresher Course Day – will have a unique hashtag.
- #ASM17BRIS (the official ASM hashtag – also already up and running. So take a look at how people are using it)
- #RCD17BRIS (the FPM Refresher Course Day hashtag)
- #anaesthesia (a common hashtag for anaesthesia threads from AU, NZ, UK and other countries using British spelling)
- #anesthesiology / #anesthesia (the more common hashtags for US and Canadian content)