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We started a Twitter-based journal club earlier this year. Here, organiser Dr Chris Wincup explains how to get involved, whether you're an experienced tweeter or you're just getting started...

What is the Journal Club?

Online journal clubs have become an innovative and interactive way of staying up-to-date with the latest medical research over recent years. Taking inspiration from ‘traditional’ journal club format, BSR's Journal Club encourages an open discussion of recently published articles in the field of rheumatology, covering both basic science and clinical research topics.

The key difference is that the article is discussed on an open online forum (via Twitter) and encourages interaction from clinicians, scientists, patients and anyone else who may be interested in taking part! Participating in the Journal Club is easy! You don’t need to be a social media expert to get involved.

How does it work?

A recent publication will be selected by the organising committee for debate. If the paper was not originally published open access, it will be made free to access for a few weeks before and after the journal club. A date and time for discussion will be chosen and publicised on social media and through the BSR website and eNews. Follow @RheumJnl, @RheumatologyUK and #rheumjnlclub on Twitter for all the latest information.

What if I’ve never used Twitter before?

Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows users to post anything and everything in 280 characters or less. If you are interested in what someone is saying you can ‘follow’ them for regular updates, which will then fill up your ‘timeline’. If you don’t have a Twitter account, it’s quick and simple to make one. Simply visit www.twitter.com and click ‘Sign Up’. From here you can create your account.

How can I join in?

Participating is really simple! All you need is a Twitter account. Log in at the specified date and time, search for #rheumjnlclub to see what others are saying, and join in by sharing your own comments. Don’t forget to add the hashtag to the end of your tweet so that others can see what you say! An explanation of the key terms and how to tweet are highlighted below.

Twitter terminology

  • Twitter – a ‘microblogging’ site in which you can post short messages (up to 280 characters in length). This is how you can interact with others during the journal club

  • Tweet – these are the short messages (up to 280 characters) that you can use to engage with others. In addition to text, it can also include photos, videos and gifs

  • Follower – other people can subscribe to your account to see when you post. Similarly, you can follow other accounts that you want to hear from regularly (and their tweets will appear on your timeline). Accounts are prefaced by the ‘@’ symbol (for example @RheumJnl)

  • Timeline – when someone you follow posts a tweet it will appear on your timeline (in chronological order). Similarly, when you post a tweet your followers will see it on their timeline. This results in a real-time stream of the tweets from accounts you follow

  • Hashtag (#) - this is a word or phrase that allows you to follow a certain topic. For example, during (and after) the journal club you can see what others are saying by searching for #rheumjnlclub. Don’t forget to include #rheumjnlclub in your tweet so that others participating in the discussion can see your comments

  • Retweet – if you want to share someone else’s tweet with people who follow you, just click the ‘retweet’ icon. Think of it as a way of forwarding on the tweet to your own followers

  • Like – you can like someone’s tweet by hitting the ‘like’ icon (shaped like a heart). This generally indicates that you appreciate the other person’s tweet. It also saves the tweet to your Likes tab for future reference

  • Mention – you can contact or ‘mention’ another account by including the @ sign followed by their username (@username). This is great for discussion and debating during the journal club. Visit our Journals page to find out when the next journal club is taking place