Tejas P. Desai, MD


June 29, 2016

A Surprise Group?

From the start, a diverse group of authors was actively participating in #ASCO16. That diversity only added to the number and type of conversations on Twitter. And there was a robust representation of authors that might not be expected at a medical conference: investors. Over 100 biotech securities were discussed on #ASCO16, the most popular being Immunomedics ($IMMU), but probably for the wrong reason (Figure 15). Immunomedics released data on its new breast cancer drug (sacituzumab) before the start of ASCO 2016 and was expelled from the conference. News of the expulsion spread rather quickly via both #ASCO16 and other biotech channels, and the company's stock fell just as ASCO 2016 was starting. Investors were also keen on Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Merck ($MRK), as both were presenting trial data for exciting drugs ($BMY: ipilimumab and nivolumab; $MRK: pembrolizumab).

Figure 15. ( view larger image )


Every #ASCO16 author contributed to the richness of this hashtag, but some deserve specific mention for their tweeting prowess. Figure 16 highlights the top 10 authors, based on their volume of tweeting. Influencers were determined by the types of tweets each person contributed to #ASCO16, because original tweeting is always harder to do than retweeting another's work (original tweets authored). "Earned" value was also weighed, specifically (1) how frequently an author was mentioned (times @mentioned), (2) how many of their original tweets were disseminated beyond their personal Twitter network (retweets accrued), and (3) how many new followers they gained by contributing to #ASCO16 (followers gained). These are "earned" metrics because authors have to make an effort to compose high-value tweets in order to be mentioned, have that tweet amplified by others, or gain new followers. Earned metrics were normalized against each author's tweeting activity to make interauthor comparisons easier. Kudos to the top influencers in each category!

Figure 16. ( view larger image )

Final Thoughts

#ASCO16 was a terrific Twitter channel with a wide range of perspectives and loads of educational information. This analysis encapsulates a fraction of the knowledge being shared; there are many additional tweets that offered high-value content.

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