Social media in surgery: evolving role in research communication and beyond
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionLangenbeck's Archives of Surgery. 2021, 406, 505-520. 10.1007/s00423-021-02135-7
Purpose To present social media (SoMe) platforms for surgeons, how these are used, with what impact, and their roles for research communication. Methods A narrative review based on a literature search regarding social media use, of studies and findings pertaining to surgical disciplines, and the authors’ own experience. Results Several social networking platforms for surgeons are presented to the reader. The more frequently used, i.e., Twitter, is presented with details of opportunities, specific fora for communication, presenting tips for effective use, and also some caveats to use. Details of how the surgical community evolved through the use of the hashtag #SoMe4Surgery are presented. The impact on gender diversity in surgery through important hashtags (from #ILookLikeASurgeon to #MedBikini) is discussed. Practical tips on generating tweets and use of visual abstracts are presented, with influence on post-production distribution of journal articles through “tweetorials” and “tweetchats.” Findings from seminal studies on SoMe and the impact on traditional metrics (regular citations) and alternative metrics (Altmetrics, including tweets, retweets, news outlet mentions) are presented. Some concerns on misuse and SoMe caveats are discussed. Conclusion Over the last two decades, social media has had a huge impact on science dissemination, journal article discussions, and presentation of conference news. Immediate and real-time presentation of studies, articles, or presentations has flattened hierarchy for participation, debate, and engagement. Surgeons should learn how to use novel communication technology to advance the field and further professional and public interaction.