Word on the Tweet: Listening to the Diabetes Community on Twitter

As a healthcare digital strategist, when I want to understand trends and get a sense of what online communities are saying, Twitter is an essential source of data. The healthcare arena has generally been slow at adopting social media (mainly for regulatory reasons) but this is changing.

To demonstrate this, we developed the infographic at the bottom of this post to analyze Twitter activity from the diabetes community around EASD 2012, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ 2012 congress held in Berlin.

The infographic provides insight on a number of questions. Which stories dominated conversation at EASD 2012? Who were the main contributors? Was the diabetes patient community part of the discussion? How active were pharmaceutical companies at communicating on Twitter? It underlines the fact that those involved in the communication of science are rapidly adapting to a world where news moves faster and reaches more people, and where old boundaries, such as those between scientists and the public, are becoming more fluid.

Even though it’s just a snapshot of all the different sets of data that can be analyzed, the infographic provides a sense of how we at Ketchum and Inspired Science look at data generated by social media to glean useful insights. Twitter and other networks are undeniably a key component of the marketing mix for any sector. From a PR point of view, it’s essential for brands to be present, because journalists and news organizations use social media to source stories and share their work.

For example, more than half of journalists use Twitter for professional reasons, two thirds use Facebook and LinkedIn, and nearly all use blogs. In addition, rising numbers of people are saying that they use social media as a major source of news and information. It’s clear that in the longer term, platforms such as Twitter will take over even more of the role of traditional media organizations in the news ecosystem.

We hope you find the infographic inspiring, and we’d love to hear your comments and insights on how this style of analysis is changing the way we look at public relations and medical education within the healthcare marketplace.

Click the infographic below to see full size.