So going to the pub can lead to an international research collaboration –right?

In Singapore 2015, the World Congress of Physical Therapy was a great opportunity for professional development, to learn from physiotherapists across the world, listen to cutting edge research and for social networking. Social media was becoming more accepted as a medium for professional communication and along with Gerard, I was invited to support an early morning breakfast session which explored the use of Social Media and was ask to help facilitate the session. This was my first meeting, face to face with my twitter community.

Twitter pub nights proliferate in all sorts of networks across the ‘twitter sphere’ and so it was no surprise that a sociable bunch like physios would host one too! Twitter pub nights can be predominantly networking and may include a focus for discussion or information sharing.

So I had a great evening, made new friends and by the end of the conference Gerard and I were amongst the top tweeters named in the final event of the conference.

I continued to keep in touch with my new found tweeters and WCPT created a hashtag #globalPT which many of us started to use as means of binding together this new community and promoting the developing WCPT strategy.

As a result of constant interactions, a small group who were each promoting twitter in our own workplaces and professional communities, hoped to meet again at the next WCPT in Cape Town, 2017 and decided we needed to submit an abstract to legitimise our next social event. And so the idea of exploring the development of social media and its role in promoting a global community of practice was born.

My global research team are Mark Merolli (Australia), Charlotte Wahlin (Sweden) and  Marie-Louise Busuttil B (Malta). Data collection was ‘mining’ tweets using #globalPT over a set period and analysis was both descriptive and qualitative. We communicate almost daily through twitter on a range of topics, have regular skype meetings and Mark and I have met in London for coffee and Maria and I in Liverpool at ER-WCPT.

So we submitted the abstract, and are waiting to hear the outcome and we are reviewing the final draft of our paper which will be submitted to an international physiotherapy journal.

It has been great fun and we have learned much about each other including our professional and personal lives. As a team from across the global community we have walked or tweeted the talk and as ever working as a team with common goals has motivated us to support each other and succeed with our research.

We have our early bird booked, flights and hotels sorted and a date for our next drink together in South Africa. We will be sure to arrange a Cape Town pub night so if you are at the conference too, join us and you may find your own research team and research question!

 

Ann Green

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