Feature Fridays: Tweetchat 101

We here at ExL would like to introduce to you an ongoing series that will be appearing regularly on the Digital Pharma Blog – Feature Fridays! Articles included in this series will offer the latest in Pharma news and digital trends from some of the most influential bloggers in Pharma today.

This week’s article comes to us from Eileen O’Brien of Siren Interactive, who moderates  the #SocPharm Tweetchat–a virtual discussion group for the pharma marketing community. The first live #SocPharm Tweetchat is set to take place at this year’s Digtial Pharma East on  Wednesday, October 20 @ 11:30 AM.

Still not sure what Tweetchatting is all about? Read on to find out more…

What’s a Tweetchat & What Does it Have to do With Pharma?

Tweetchats are conversations, held at a pre-arranged time on Twitter. Typically Tweetchats are around a specific area of interest. There are currently Tweetchats on topics ranging from personal branding to real estate to small business technology to dogs. Every Wednesday I moderate a conversation about pharma marketing and social media which you can listen to – or you can join in the discussion. To access this Tweetchat, you use the hashtag #SocPharm.

What’s a Hashtag?

A hashtag consists of the # symbol before a keyword. Hashtags identify the conversation topic. They help Tweeters quickly find content on a specific subject. For example, #FDAsm was the hashtag used for tweeting about the FDA social media hearings. #SocPharm is a hashtag used for topics related to pharma marketing and social media. It’s also what you follow in order to see the Tweetchat discussion I moderate.

How do I Join a Tweetchat?

It’s easy and fun to join a Tweetchat because you are being asked your opinion about a subject that interests you. To listen to a Tweetchat you don’t even need a Twitter account, but it’s more fun if you do have an account and participate. You can listen to the conversation on pharma marketing and social media by going toTwitter.com and typing in #SocPharm in the search box. If you continue to hit refresh you’ll be able to see the ongoing conversation.

If you have a Twitter account, I recommend the free tool Tweetdeck where you can set up a separate search column for #SocPharm which allows you to easily follow along. Another great option is the website http://tweetchat.com where you enter in your Twitter name and the hashtag you want to follow. It shows you the Tweetchat and also automatically adds the hashtag at the end of your tweets.

Both Twitter and Tweetdeck also have free mobile applications that allow you to join in from your smartphone.

What’s #SocPharm Tweetchat?

Every Wednesday from 8 to 9 pm EST, pharma marketers get together virtually on Twitter to talk. The topics range from news that happened during the week, such as the sanofi-aventis Facebook issue, or larger issues, such as using mobile applications for patient adherence programs. The moderator starts off asking for everyone to introduce themselves and then raises a topic for discussion. Everyone chimes in on the topic and the conversation starts going back and forth. About every 15-20 minutes the moderator presents a new topic. Each month there is a guest moderator from a pharma/biotech company who brings a different perspective.

The first live #SocPharm Tweetchat will be held at the Digital Pharma East conference on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM. This special #SocPharm tweetchat will pose topical questions and responses will come from both the real-life audience and the global Twitter crowd.  This interactive conversation will be fast, fun and free flowing.

This session will be an introduction for people new to Twitter as well as relevant to veteran tweeters. It will be an opportunity to share your opinion on hot topics and learn what others – in-person and online – have to say.

If you’re wondering why people are buzzing about Twitter, be sure to take part.


Joan Mikardos
Senior Director, Business Innovation

Brad Pendergraph
Manager, Multi-Channel Marketing
Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Eileen O’Brien
Director, Search & Innovation
Siren Interactive

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