Social Media at ASCO: Weekend in Review

June 1, 2015


Day 4 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago brings with it some weary attendees and followers. Hundreds of abstracts have been presented on a range of cancers and generated some large conversation volumes, both in McCormick Place and online.

On Friday, we previewed three topics and trends we’re watching at the meeting. Here’s a quick look at what we’ve seen so far:

Will patients use social media during ASCO?

We analyzed Twitter conversations from Friday through Sunday that used a hashtag we know is active in the patient community: #lcsm (lung cancer social media). Using that hashtag, along with any tweets mentioning #ASCO15, we found 1,418 tweets out of nearly 38,800 total tweets using #ASCO15, representing 4% of all conversation.

We then looked at who was leading the conversations, based on the amount of tweets issued and whether those were original or RTs of someone else’s content. Here’s what we found:

  • Clear conversation leaders emerged: 36 people generated over half (54%) of all conversations, and 13% came from just two people. One HCP (7%) and one patient/advocate (6%).
  • Patients had a voice, but not as large as HCPs: Of the 36 conversation leaders, 25% were patients and/or patient advocates, and 64% were healthcare professionals or professional societies, who also issued more than twice the amount of tweets than patients/advocates.
  • Journalists and pharmaceutical companies have an opportunity to reach and engage active patients and advocacy groups: Despite the large amount of journalists covering research at the meeting, most journalists and companies are only using the #ASCO15 hashtag. We saw just one journalist use the #lcsm hashtag to reach patients, and only 15 tweets from pharmaceutical companies.

Periscope is alive.

Adam Feuerstein of and Meg Tirrell of CNBC had the first Periscope broadcasts from ASCO. Their broadcasts, some of which came from press conferences and briefings, are one new way of reaching the investors and other influencers who follow their reporting closely.