Conferences + Social Media

Blog post by Colin Hung.

The annual #HIMSS18 conference is now just a week away…and it is full-on HIMSSanity for me as I prepare for the big event. For the first time in 12 years, I do not have a booth to manage. I’m completely free to roam the exhibit hall and attend sessions. Paradoxically, this looks to be my busiest HIMSS ever. I’m literally booked morning to night with meetings, meetups and interviews. I’m so excited.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have collaborated with @HIMSS on #hcldr chats. On Tuesday February 13th we had Sean Errerger @StuckonSW, HIMSS18 Social Media Ambassador as the guest host for Technology for Physical Health, Mental Health & Addictions Care. Last week we teamed with @HIMSS to talk about What, Where and How HealthIT can Impact Healthcare and many Social Media Ambassadors contributed to the discussion.

This week is the third and final #HIMSS18 themed chat.

No other conference on the healthcare calendar generates as much social engagement as HIMSS. Personally, I find that I tweet and blog more from HIMSS than another other conference. The conference hasn’t even started yet and according to our friends at Symplur, I am close to 200 tweets with the #HIMSS18 hashtag (since Feb 20th).

What I find unique about HIMSS is that I tweet a lot, but I do not live-tweet many sessions. For those that follow me on Twitter, you’ll know this is totally different than my regular conference tweeting. I am always sitting at the back of the room madly typing on my Surface or on my phone. At HIMSS, however, I only attend the keynotes plus 2 or 3 sessions. I tweet more from the various meetups, after-hours parties and from the exhibit floor.

To me this is indicative of how valuable the networking is at HIMSS – that it overrides my innate desire to attend educational sessions. But as I thought about it more, I began to wonder if I was being a little bit selfish. Do people find it boring and narcistic that I post pictures of people I bump into at HIMSS meetups and send out tweets about the interesting technologies I see on the exhibit floor. Would it be better if I, along with other Social Media Ambassadors, focused more on sharing session information?

Another interesting thought – is live-tweeting sessions passé? Many conferences now offer a live-streaming option (some for free, some at you have to pay a registration fee). Does this negate the need for conference session tweets? Would it be better if live-tweeters switched to writing blog summaries instead?

Please join me on Tuesday February 27th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here) for the weekly #hcldr tweetchat where we will be discussing conferences, social media and HIMSS18.

  • T1 What criteria do you use to determine whether or not to tune into a conference’s hashtag or social media feeds?
  • T2 Is live-tweeting educational sessions at healthcare conferences still valuable? How could live-tweeting be improved?
  • T3 What output do you find most valuable from a conference that you did not attend? Blog articles? Tweets? Podcasts? Streamed video?
  • T4 What expectations do you have for designated Social Media Ambassadors at HIMSS or other events? What do you want to see from them?

A few quick HIMSS18 notes:

  1. #hcldr #HITsm #HITMC photo meetup 12:15pm at the big HIMSS sign (lower floor)
  2. Other Meetups at HIMSS18 (aka where I’m likely to be)
  3. HIMSS18 Social Media Ambassadors
  4. HIMSS18 Mix Tape (shameless plug)


“How the American Diabetes Association  Unleashed the Streisand Effect”, Marie Ennis-O’Connor, Medium, 18 June 2017,, accessed 26 February 2018

“Tweeting and rule breaking at conferences – BMJ Editor Rapid Responses”, BMJ, 27 June 2016,, accessed 26 February 2018

“Live-tweeting is dead; long live live-tweeting”, Jo Bromilow, LinkedIn, 11 February 2016,, accessed 26 February 2018

“The Dangers of Tweeting at Conferences”, Noah Berlatsky, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 November 2017,, accessed 26 February 2018

“Ten Simple Rules of Live Tweeting at Scientific Conferences”, Sean Ekins and Ethan O Perlstein, PLOS Computational Biology, 21 August 2014,, accessed 26 February 2018

“Live tweeting at academic conferences: time to move on?” Ian Lunt, Small Pond Science, 16 December 2015,, accessed 26 February 2018

“Tweet Revenge: Twitter Erupts As Diabetes Forum Tries to Lock Down Photo Sharing”, Emily Kopp, Kaiser Health News, 14 June 2017,, accessed 26 February 2018

“Apple CEO: We can make a ‘significant contribution’ in healthcare”, Christina Farr and Paayal Zaveri, CNBC, 13 February 2018,, accessed 18 February 2018

Image Credit

#hcldr + #HITsm meetup at HIMSS17 taken by me.

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