(How) do you use social media? We investigate

social-networks

ESO and our magazine Cancer World wanted to find out whether, by engaging more with social media, we could make it easier for people in the cancer community to interact with us and with one another.

We therefore contacted everyone on the ESO, e-ESO and Cancer World email lists, to ask them about whether they use social media, and if so how. The survey population included everybody who has ever attended an ESO educational event or conference (plus others signed up to Club ESO), everyone registered for e-ESO’s e-grandround and e-oncoreview webcasts, and everyone on the Cancer World email list.

The 660 responses we received represent a broad spectrum of ages, disciplines and countries. They are probably not, however, broadly representative of oncology professionals in general. The population as a whole is self-selected, having already chosen to engage with ESO and/or Cancer World, and those who responded are likely to be more involved with social media than those who did not.

Nonetheless, we feel the results offer a very interesting picture of social media use among a section of the professional cancer community, including some surprises.

Respondents come from all walks of the cancer community:

Who?
Almost half are medical oncologists, followed by surgical oncologists, radiotherapists, patient advocates, cancer nurses, pathologists, psycho-oncologists, and radiologists.

Where?
More the two-thirds are from Europe.

How old?
They covered a wide age range: the 31–40 and 41–50 age groups accounted for around 30% of respondents each, with around 20% in the 51–60 age group.

We asked: who uses social media?

tick image
85% said yes

cross image
15% said no

Interestingly older respondents were just as likely to use social media as younger ones. Lack of time and relevance were listed as the main reasons for not using it.

We asked how and why respondents use social media
We were pleasantly surprised by the response:

What best describes you use

 

Two out of three respondents who said they use social media, use it to keep up with developments in their field – not surprising.

But many of them are also using social media to interact with other people:

  • to interact professionally: more than half
  • to be part of a community and join discussions: 1 in 3
  • to initiate discussions: 1 in 5

how active are you

While 4 out of 10 respondents  say they use social media only to read what others have posted, almost half of  comment on what they read, 4 in 10 ‘like’ or share links to what others have posted, and a surprisingly high 1 in 4 contribute their own posts.

More than half belong to some form of online group, such as a LinkedIn, Facebook or Google group or email forum, or they follow a blog.

Preferred platforms
We asked which platform people use for ‘professional use only’ or ‘professional and personal’ use

linkedinLinkedIn is by far the most popular, used by almost 75% of respondents (more than 50% of them for professional reasons only)

YouTube-iconYouTube comes next at 54% (just over 10% for professional use only)

 

FB-f-Logo__blue_29Facebook comes in at nearly 44% (less than 3% of them for professional reasons only)

 

Followed by

btn_g_red_pressed.png-27Google+ at around 40% (10% professional only)

 

Twitter_logo_blueTwitter at 30% (11% professional only)

 

This is the first survey we know of investigating social media use among cancer professionals in Europe.

Even allowing for above average engagement among our survey population as a whole, and among respondents in particular, we were surprised and encouraged at the number of oncology professionals who use social media to interact, to join conversations and to start their own.

This survey was conducted as part of an effort to improve our own level of interaction, to play more of a role listening to and sharing what others in the community are saying, as well as spreading the word about conversations that we are promoting through this blog – Conversations for Collaboration and Change – and our magazine Cancer World.

The results of the survey can be found in more details Social Media Survey Results

Join the conversation!
If you’ve not visited this blog before, we hope you will take a look at what we’ve posted in its first few weeks. If you like what you see, we hope you will follow us and join the conversation.

You can follow The Cancer Blog, and contribute your own insights, experiences and comments, via LinkedIn (join the Cancer World group), Twitter (@ESOncology) or Facebook (ESOncology).

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2 thoughts on “(How) do you use social media? We investigate

  1. Aoife Mc Namara

    Great to social media being discussed by ESO and so widely used by the oncology community. We have introduced social media into our service, using it as a way to talk to people affected by cancer and increase awareness among the general public. For more informaiton, please see: http://www.lenus.ie/hse/bitstream/10147/306282/1/GreattoSeeImnotalone.pdf

    Aoife Mc Namara amcnamara@irishcancer.ie and Karen Skelly kskelly@irishcancer.ie
    Cancer Information Service, Irish Cancer Society, Ireland

    Reply
  2. Caroline Moulins

    Jumping in the discussion: here is a news article from the European Association for Cancer Research presenting the results of a survey published by Nature on academic social networks: http://www.eacr.org/news/news_detail.php?id=131

    Interesting to see the results for the ESO/Cancer World survey, and hopefully it will allow more interaction among the professional cancer community.

    Caroline Moulins, EACR Communications and Marketing Coordinator
    caroline.moulins@nottingham.ac.uk

    Reply

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