SWOG has amped up its communications efforts markedly over the life of the current grant. One tool, social media, is something SWOG has been particularly focused on for a long time. Now we’re about to trod into new digital territory. On Monday, we launch a private Facebook group. It’s the first interactive online platform we’ve created that will allow all SWOG members to talk about cancer clinical trials.

I’m thrilled. I’m a big fan of Facebook, and really enjoyed posting to the Kilimanjaro Climb for Cancer Clinical Trials page we created for our 2015 fundraising summit. Somehow it’s still alive, two years after the climb! Now, we have a permanent place on Facebook. Consider this your personal invitation to sign up.

On the SWOG Oncology page, you’ll get news from us and funding updates from The Hope Foundation. You can get advice on any challenges you’re having on your trials, or discuss practices and processes that helped you design and conduct a great study. The goal is to create a place to share news and promote cross-cutting conversation.

Right now, it’s still too hard to connect in SWOG outside your committees. We wanted to break down the silos and bring everyone together. We invite all SWOG staff and all SWOG members – investigators, nurses, clinical research associates, statisticians, pharmacists, scientists, and patient advocates – to join us in SWOG Oncology. Our group will be better with a variety of voices participating.

The group, while potentially large, is still private; only those connected to SWOG can join. That’s because we wanted a place to talk shop – not promote our work to the public. We wanted to keep it real, and practical, so members felt comfortable talking about a variety of issues – eligibility requirements, accrual barriers, funding frustrations – and perhaps sharing the thrill of a positive finding or a high-impact publication. No need to worry about privacy. As long as your privacy settings are on, no one from SWOG will see your barbeque photos or birth date. You can easily separate your professional life from your personal life.

Signing up is easy. Just go to SWOG Oncology on Facebook and click the “JOIN” button. We will check frequently, and you’ll be notified when your request is accepted.

SWOG’s digital engagement committee, which launched the page, considered piloting a mobile app or a web forum. They landed on Facebook, believing it to be the easiest digital tool for our diverse membership to navigate. I thank them and especially call out Dr. Mark Lewis for managing the group. I am confident he will post quite a bit.

Be sure my comments get more “likes” then his! See you on online.

*Amy Jo Martin

Front Line takes a rest next week for spring break. See you back on April 7.