Teresa H. Thomas, ONS Congress Planning Committee

Microblogging websites and social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, offer incredible opportunities for the broad, real-time transmission of ideas. For clinicians, academics, and other stakeholders, these websites allow for wide professional networking and engagement with like-minded individuals. While attending national conferences and listening to leaders in our field present their research and clinical work, many individuals take pictures of presentations to share on such websites.


The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) has witnessed a growth in such use of social media at our annual Congress. Although this sharing of ideas is a powerful way to extend the knowledge dissemination beyond the physical confines of the conference, as responsible creators and users of social media and research, we must consider the implications for distributing presentations at conferences. The intellectual exchange of ideas we desire to occur at Congress can certainly be facilitated through social media, although certain uses are more responsible and conducive than others. For example, posting images of presenters’ slides may eliminate the context and nuance provided in a full presentation, and the broader posting of presenters’ topics, key questions, and main recommendations can initiate a larger conversation on timely topics within our field. Katz (2018) rightfully wrote about the potential intellectual property and peer review implications of social media sharing at conferences (in addition to the nuisance of picture-taking during sessions).


ONS welcomes and encourages the sharing of ideas presented at Congress so that the larger oncology and nursing communities can benefit from the knowledge disseminated at Congress. Congress attendees benefit from accessing presenters’ handouts and posters online, allowing for the easy transmission of ideas when they return to their home institution and preventing the need for vigorous note-taking and picture-snapping during Congress sessions. Speakers can clearly communicate if their slides are available for posting on social media. One insightful suggestion offered by a colleague (and invited speaker at Congress) is to have speakers include a slide with summary points approved specifically for social media.


In brief, social media at Congress should facilitate the sharing of our science and evidence but should be done thoughtfully and prudently in a way that promotes our work and encourages intellectual curiosity and growth. For those attending Congress, consider using social media platforms to share your experience with other colleagues. For those presenting at Congress, consider explicitly stating the points of your presentation appropriate for social media dissemination. For those following Congress on social media, be ready to actively engage in the exciting opportunities to learn and network!



Katz, A. (2018). Taking photos of presentations: Dissemination or distraction? Oncology Nursing Forum, 45, 427–428. https://doi.org/10.1188/18.ONF.427-428


Additional Resources

Borgmann, H., Cooperberg, M., Murphy, D., Loeb, S., N’Dow, J., Ribal, M.J., . . . Kutikov, A. (2018). Online professionalism—2018 update of European Association of Urology (@Uroweb) recommendations on the appropriate use of social media. European Orology, 74, 644–650. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2018.08.022


Sedrak, M.S., Dizon, D.S., Anderson, P.F., Fisch, M.J., Graham, D.L., Katz, M.S., . . .  Attai, D.J. (2017). The emerging role of professional social media use in oncology. Future Oncology, 13, 1281–1285. https://doi.org/10.2217/fon-2017-0161


Wilkinson, S.E., Basto, M.Y., Perovic, G., Lawrentschuk, N., & Murphy, D.G. (2015). The social media revolution is changing the conference experience: Analytics and trends from eight international meetings. BJU International, 115, 839–846. https://doi.org/10.1111/bju.12910