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Guest Moderator Series: Putting #hcsmca in HIV research

September 4, 2012

The #hcsmca community grows and grows richer through our practice of rotating moderators. Moderators often share their experience post chat. Here are Melanie Kuxdorf‘s thoughts.

By Melanie Kuxdorf

I started in the brand new position of Communications and Social Media Officer with the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) almost exactly a year ago, and at the time #hcsmca wasn’t yet a blip on my radar.

I was new to health communications if not new to social media, but it wasn’t long after that I got invited to join the #hcsmca Twitter chat. I quickly felt a part of the community, and it’s become really important for me and my work. Beyond the chats, watching the #hcsmca stream is often better than Google alerts or trolling the blogs. The community is generous and on the ball, sharing everything related to patients, doctors and practicing health care in a new digital – and digitally social – world.

I’ve moderated the chat twice now. The first time, the fast pace was intense, but it was the gaps in the discussion (some of which were actually technical difficulties from tweet chat) that were the hardest, they seemed to last for long minutes not seconds.

Colleen Young gave me some great advice after the fact, which prepared me for the second one: “You are the hostess a party.” As a moderator you are not alone, the group does a lot of the work for you, keeping things on topic, or, if someone is being inappropriate (which almost never happens), the group will shift the tone. It’s very cool to watch this happen. Knowing this, my second time moderating was a lot easier.

Right now much of the work I’m doing with the CTN explores the potential of social media in HIV research, and I’m supporting our first study to use social media as part of their community-based research (Namely: the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study). Here’s a presentation that I gave on social media and HIV research. I owe a lot of the information I presented to Colleen and the hcsmca community.

It’s a really interesting time in health care, and in health research (and the clinical trials that bridge the two), and the potential of social media is only starting to be realized. I’m excited to see where we’re headed.

How has the hcsmca community helped you in your work?
– Melanie Kuxdorf (@melkux)

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