Welcome to EMIMDoc.org!
Thanks to Mike Cadogan, I have officially moved from a WordPress hosted site to a more autonomous EMIMDoc.org. It may not be very pretty yet, but keep visiting and witness the magic… Please update your bookmarks. Thank you Mike!
Now, on to business
Here in the US and Canada we’re in the thick of conference season. NACCT13 and ICRE2013 just wrapped up and the 2013 ACEP Scientific Assembly is finally upon us. This will be followed by ANZICS, and then the International EM Teaching Course. Due to personal circumstances, I am again going to have to miss both of the excellent stateside meetings (forget about going to Tasmania…).
What’s a guy to do?
So, we’re back to where it all started. I had been playing around with the idea of blogging for a long time but, last year, what finally got me going was the realization that there were a lot of excellent conferences, with insightful speakers and great people, which I – for the most part – had no way of attending. Then Twitter showed me that I could be there without even getting on a plane. Thanks to the very active EM twitterverse I was able to participate in ACEP12 from home. There was, in fact, so much content flowing out of last year’s sessions that I had to summarize it all just to keep it straight (4.9M impressions for 3,550 tweets by 423 contributors!). And so I figured, why not share my notes? Here is the first of last year’s posts: http://emimdoc.org/freeloading/
I plan again to summarize ACEP13 as seen through the lens of Twitter on a a daily basis, as I did last year. And yet, there are so many EM folks on Twitter now that I hope us freeloaders will still be able to make sense of it all. The conference has barely even started and it’s already generated more than 3000 tweets (10 hours ago there were only about 900) by 600 users! Granted, there was a lot of commercial fluff earlier in the day, but as the research and educational sessions started up we saw a huge spike in educational content. This is going to be tough.
The FOAM movement has exploded. It has even permeated the normal, day-to-day, conversations in our department. More ‘experienced’ faculty will quietly inquire, “Hey, you know anything about this ‘FOAM’ business?”, and junior residents ask, as a matter of routine, “Can you suggest any FOAM resources on this topic?” Students and colleagues recognize each other at meetings though their only interactions have been online and, more recently, even residency programs have embraced the movement (see Residencies Embrace Twitter, by Nikita Joshi on ALiEM, and also visit this interactive map of EM, IM, and FM residencies on Twitter, by Salim Rezaie).
After virtually attending a number of conferences I realized that organizers and their affiliated organizations could benefit greatly from formally incorporating FOAM into their programming, even though FOAM is based on unlimited, free access. And so I wrote: A Note to Conference Organizers Everywhere. As it turned out I wasn’t the first to think of it, and our antipodean friends soon schooled us all by giving the world SMACC, the Social Media and Critical Care Conference.
Where to From Here?
Who knows. Websites come and go. Services come and go. Google Reader is gone, but RSS feeds are still running strong. Twitter will apparently be going public and who can say how that will affect current users. But in the mean time it’s here, and still a strong tool for free, open access medical education. The blogs and other educational websites that make up the foundations of the FOAM ecosystem are also here to stay (at least for now…). Their quality and reliability are expected to increase even further, thanks to the efforts of Academic Life in Emergency Medicine, Life in the Fast Lane, and many other authors and websites.
In the mean time, sign up for Twitter and learn something. Start by following FOAMstarter and the 25 users it follows, follow FOAM_highlights and the accounts they follow. Follow Joe Lex (@JoeLex5). Then, follow a hashtag to see themed content from people you don’t know. Track top EM hashtags by creating your own Twitter lists, or just visit FOAMfeeds to see them all in one place (FOAMfeeds is also a collaboration with the folks listed below). And if you can take it one step further, contribute to the conversation by adding a hashtag to your tweets. There are a bunch to choose from:
- #FOAMed – General Emergency Medicine (the grandaddy of all EM/CC hashtags)
- #FOAMcc – Critical Care focused
- #FOAMped – Reaching the Pediatric EM audience
- #EMTOT – “Emergency Medicine Tricks of the Trade”: MacGyvering EM, anywhere.
- Conference hashtags (#ACEP13, #IEMTC13, etc)
- #EMconf and #IMconf – #EMconf was started with the goal of creating a unified conversation – discussion room? sounding chamber? – for the teaching coming out of weekly academic sessions held around the world for EM trainees (academic days, morning report, journal club, etc). It has become a presence on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (corresponding to the US and Canadian residency academic days) and has led to some cross-pollination. Every week, it seems, people are contributing pearls from additional residencies. So far, the strongest participation has been from US and Canadian program, but we hope it grows into a real international stream. Perhaps one day distant programs will be able to collaborate in conference planning and even conduct combined sessions via Twitter Google+ or other social media tools. The hashtag was the product of a collaboration with several EM bloggers, including: Jeremy Faust, Nikita Joshi, Seth Trueger, Lauren Westafer, Jordana Haber, Chris Nickson, Minh LeCong, Natalie May, Michelle Lin, and Brent Thoma. #IMconf is also gaining momentum, for any of you EM/IM’s out there. It was recently started by Salim Rezaie and several IM residencies with similar goals, but oriented towards Internal Medicine trainees.
All Together Now
FOAM is changing the EM/CC conference landscape. If you’re not convinced, check out SMACC Gold, IEMTC13, Resuscitation2014, or any of the other conferences that have embraced social media. It is also having an enormous impact on residency training, but that is for another time. For now, join Twitter, visit GMEP, read a blog, listen to a podcast, and vive le FOAM*!
(*Vive le FOAM borrowed from Chris Nickson, I think)
Disclosure – I am a member of the Resuscitation2014 social media team.