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Voices: It Takes a Community to Establish a Tweet Chat

gynecologic cancerGynecologic Cancer Awareness Monthsocial mediaTweetchat
Sep 18, 2013

It Takes a Community to Establish a Tweet Chat | Dee Sparacio

In January, I wrote a blog post on this site about my aspirations for the year. So far in 2013, I haven’t painted very often nor have I consistently exercised. But with the help of the gynecologic cancer community my aspiration to be part of a tweet chat has happened.

In July after reading “Hashtag Folksonomy for Cancer Communities on Twitter” in the ASCO Connection, I tweeted to Matthew Katz, MD (@atomic doc) how I wished there was a chat for ovarian cancer survivors like the #BCSM (Breast Cancer Social Media) chat. Another cancer advocate, Christina Lizaso, contacted me and before we knew it a number of physicians as well as Chrissy Ward (@SGOChrissy) tweeted back and forth generously sharing their expertise and support in establishing an online Twitter community for those impacted by gynecologic cancers.

Christina set-up a Twitter account (@gyncsm) and we began using the hashtag #gyncsm for tweets that were of interest to those in our community. I created the #gyncsm blog (http://gyncsm.blogspot.com/) to have a central location for information related to the gynecologic cancer chat. Both Christina and I agreed to be Advocate Moderators. Dr. Katz wrote our Tweet Disclaimer.  Rick Boulay, MD (@journeycancer), Don Dizon, MD (@drdonsdizon) and MJ Markham, MD (@DrMarkham ) agreed to be our Health Care Advisors/ Moderators. While Dr. Ann Becker-Schutte (@DrBeckerSchutte) agreed to join us when we discussed mental health issues. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (@SGO_org) and Tamika and Friends.Inc.(@tandherfrenz) offered their support and once we set a date frequently promoted the chat. We discussed the best night to schedule the chat topics and which topics we should discuss via email. Finally, we agreed to hold the chat on the second Wednesday of the month at 9 p.m. EST.

Even though it was only a few weeks away we decided to begin the chat in September, Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. The inaugural chat was held on Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. EST. A lively discussion among physicians, ovarian and cervical cancer advocates, caregivers, cancer centers, organizations and others took place.  You may read a transcript here. We had 44 participants and wrote 453 tweets. It took time and effort by so many to establish this chat and online community.  I offer my thanks to Christina and the physicians and organizations who helped to make it happen.

I cordially invite you to join our #gyncsm community next month on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. for a discussion of genetics and personalized medicine.

Every Day is a Blessing!