Join in ASN’s First Ever Tweet the Week

Are you overwhelmed by Renal Week’s many offerings and wonder where to head next? Or would you like to post a few words about findings at a session you just attended? Then join Twitter and help us Tweet the Week.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a microblogging service in which participants (Tweeps) answer the question, “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. As the service has evolved, photos and shortened URLs may be tweeted, making it a great way to share longer, more complex thoughts with more immediacy than a blog entry or email. Twitter is used to “point” people to stuff of interest. Family and friends may want to see photos of your activities; other followers may want to read blog posts you find interesting or irritating.

The real power of Twitter is the “retweet.” Your followers can repeat your tweet, sending it on to their followers, and so on, and so forth, exponentially forwarding your information to the world (or at least to the Twitterverse).

Why would I Tweet?

Tweeting is a strong way to make connections. One day I tweeted a link to an important issue for research scientists. It was retweeted by three of my followers in the science blogging community. Between my direct followers and their direct followers, we got the link to ∼1000 people in 15 minutes, something that no email chain could accomplish. One of my followers has ∼67,000 secondary followers; you can see how that could spread the word! Our goals for Tweet the Week are more modest.

What will Tweet the Week accomplish?

Tweet the Week involves a closed network, one in which no one outside of our group can see the tweets. We want to get a feel for how the “nephrologist in the convention center” experiences Renal Week. Opinions, great presentations, and disappointing events can be shared; no participant has to worry about their tweets haunting them in the future because the general public will not see the tweets. We are hoping to get ideas for what ASN Kidney News should cover during our annual meeting, ways to improve the annual meeting, and what our attendees are thinking.

Another Twitter-based phenomenon is the Tweet-Up. It is a “meet-up” arranged via Twitter! My local shopping mall plays tag this way. First, they send a tweet with relevant information; the first person to find the manager of a store and say, “Tweet, you’re it” gets a $25 gift card to the mall! We probably won’t do give-aways at Renal Week, but we may do a Tweet-Up of some sort.

Do I have to carry a laptop to participate?

Twitter is a web-based service that can be accessed through any web-enabled device. Tweeting via text message is another option. For those with smart phones, there are plenty of Twitter applications that deliver all sorts of interface options. Many for BlackBerry and iPhone are free!

How do I get started?

Create a Twitter account, if you don’t already have one. It’s free and requires very little information other than a valid email.

Go to http://twitter.com/RenalWeek and click on the button to request to follow. This is a closed group, so the general public will not be able to see what we say.

Send an email (tweet@asn-online.org) when you make the follow request. I need to know your status (practicing nephrologist, fellow, research scientist, professor, etc.) and your screen name. I will then OK your membership in the group and follow your updates.