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Wednesday, July 13 • 15:31 - 17:00
Comparing Social Media Engagement Between Two Technology Disciplines

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Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG01, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
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  • Brian Regan, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Luke Regan, Raigmore Hospital, NHS Highlands, United Kingdom
  • Peter Summons, University of Newcastle, Australia


This study was prompted by discussion among the authors about activity in the discipline of Emergency Medicine(EM), whereby practitioners and academic researchers were actively using social media to communicate with each other and in particular for transmitting information about the latest practices in patient treatment - highlighted by an active online community (FOAMeD)  (Life in the Fast Lane, n.d.) and an annual conference (SMACC) – Social Media and Critical Care. These processes provide a dynamic and cost-free platform for communicating between academia and clinical practice (Scott, et al., 2014), for which serious benchmarking has been recommended by EM practitioners  (Weingart & Faust, 2014). By contrast the multitude of conferences in the Information Technology/ Computer Science (IT/CS) space have had a tendency to polarize discussion into either academic or industry streams, with less social media engagement. This project is to explore the SM engagement between two technology focused disciplines.


To identify how different the social media engagement is between EM & IT/CS, and to analyse the reasons for such differences.


The public websites of all Australian publicly funded universities were examined to locate the names of professorial staff in IT or Computer Science schools, and academic staff in Emergency Medicine disciplines in Medical schools. The latter were harder to locate as not all medical school websites listed staff in discipline groups, resulting in 3 times the number of identified IT vs EM staff examined. But in both discipline areas any names found were then used to explore for a Twitter account. The names were then used to search for accounts on twitter and where the biographical data did not indicate a direct match – the people being followed and the pubic tweets were examined to try to confirm a link to indicate a match to the institution or relevant discipline topics. It is possible that some of the examined identities were using a false identity on Twitter but it was assumed that total anonymity did not indicate an engagement with Twitter as part of the subject’s professional activity. Whilst the existence of related Facebook accounts was examined for IT/CS staff, the privacy settings and closed nature of Facebook make it less accessible for study. Twitter was also considered more generally the platform for open professional discussions.


Table 1. Comparison of Twitter Activity

In addition to examining Twitter involvement, for the IT/CS cohort, they were searched for on Facebook and 41 (or 22%) were found with public accounts.

The median results were included as the means in each case were raised in both disciplines by a small number of very active individuals.

Future Work: 

The initial results above reinforced the impression that IT/CS academics whilst supposedly heavily engaged with technology have shown a reluctance as a discipline to engage with social media driven by the platforms for which they are experts. During the examination of the Tweets of the accounts it was noted that there seemed a trend in the IT/CS tweets to be more public notices then a real engagement or discussion that was shown in the EM activity. The next step is to survey academics in the two disciplines to identify the details of their use of SM and to use frameworks such as in  (Ngai, Tao, & Moon, 2014) to analyse the respective engagement. This could also include more systematic analysis of the content of the Tweets.


(n.d.). Retrieved January 12/1/2016, 2016, from Life in the Fast Lane: http://lifeinthefastlane.com/foam/

Ngai, E., Tao, S., & Moon, K. (2014, October 19). Social media research: Theories, constructs, and conceptual frameworks. International Journal of Information Management, 35, 33-44.

Scott, K., Hsu, C., Johnson, N., Mamtani, M., Conion, L., & DeRoos, F. (2014, October). Integration of Social Media in Emergency Medicine Residency Curriculum. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 64(4), 396-404.

Weingart, S., & Faust, J. (2014). Future evolution of traditional journals and social media medical education . Emergency Medicine Australia, 26, 62-66.

Wednesday July 13, 2016 15:31 - 17:00 UTC
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG01 Goldsmiths University, Building 2