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The Front Line


The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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Follow Us, Friend Us, Fan Us! It’s Time to Get Social with SWOG

April 21, 2017 - This week, we clocked 3,000 followers on Twitter. And we’ve got some good Tweeps, too: ASCO, NCI, the European Cancer Organisation, the Association of American Cancer Institutes, and a boatload of physicians, scientists, nurses, journals, journalists, cancer centers, pharmaceutical companies, advocacy organizations, and more.

Am I just bragging? Of course not! This matters for a simple reason. Social media is the single best way to get the word out about SWOG. It’s how we tell our story, how we connect with partners and the public, and how we join the global conversation about cancer clinical trials. As a certain leader highly placed in the executive branch can attest, Twitter is a powerful megaphone. It’s also a powerful tool for listening – and learning. Spend a little time on Twitter, and you get the latest research news and can place your finger directly on the pulse of the oncology community and the patients it serves.

As you know, last month we also landed a permanent place on Facebook, our own private group for members called “SWOG Oncology.” The purpose of that platform is different. This group connects us not to the public – but to each other. It’s a digital water cooler, a members-only meeting place where we can swap news, ask advice, troubleshoot trials, and perhaps hand out a few “congratulations” when a great trial result is published or an exciting new trial launches.

I want to thank SWOG’s digital engagement committee for launching and running the Facebook group, and for moving us forward not only in social media, but throughout the wide world of online tools and smartphone strategies – all ultimately aimed at improving our clinical trials. The committee is currently discussing how to test a video consent form, how to harness the Internet to boost trial accrual, and how to reach Millennials through video.

When we meet in San Francisco next week, committee members will also talk about how to best work with disease committees in SWOG, and how to encourage more of us to fully utilize these social media opportunities. I particularly appreciate foci on metrics of effectiveness. Will video consent – or a Facebook page for that matter – make a difference in our work? Can we measure it?

If you want to join the Facebook group, log into your account, search for “SWOG Oncology” and press the “Join” button. If you’re a member, you get approved. And you can follow us on Twitter at @SWOG. #SeeYouInSanFran

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