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:
Almost half are medical oncologists, followed by surgical oncologists, radiotherapists, patient advocates, cancer nurses, pathologists, psycho-oncologists, and radiologists.
More the two-thirds are from Europe.
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?
85% said yes
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:
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
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.
We asked which platform people use for ‘professional use only’ or ‘professional and personal’ use
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
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