Tag Archive | Twitter

Twitter: An “Essential Tool” for Surgeons?

Twitter_Logo_BlueWhile many surgeons may not think of Twitter as a boon to professional activities, this particular social-networking platform is “an essential tool” for the academic surgeon. So claim Logghe et al. in their recent article in the Journal of Surgical Research. The authors back up their claim with pertinent, real-life examples of how Twitter can be used to practice five core values promulgated by the Association for Academic Surgery: inclusion, leadership, innovation, scholarship, and mentorship.

Inclusion—Anyone with Internet access can sign up and easily use Twitter to interact with colleagues. The service is free and facilitates the creation of “virtual communities” through the use of hashtags, making it easy to follow posts of other surgeons and organizations.

Leadership—Twitter allows users to create and expand their own professional footprint while also helping the academic and/or clinical organizations with which they are affiliated increase their reach. As the authors astutely note, “Surgeons on Twitter become respected voices with large followings not only based solely on their academic pedigree, but also on the degree to which they share interesting content and participate in timely conversations.”

Innovation—Twitter facilitates sharing among like-minded individuals in similar fields by breaking the normal constraints of time and space. This enhances the potential for multidisciplinary collaboration that may not have occurred otherwise and helps surgeons find colleagues with whom to develop and promote new ideas.

Scholarship—Multiple studies have shown that using social media can increase the dissemination and viewership of academic material. Many journals (including JBJS) are embracing social media to amplify their message and generate further scholarly discussion of their content.

Mentorship—Twitter not only increases the opportunity for younger surgeons to find potential mentors, but also helps mentors increase their pool of prospective mentees. Users of Twitter are not constrained to one-on-one conversations. Instead, using hashtags and similar strategies, they can develop or nurture a mentor/mentee relationship with multiple professionals at the same time.

As a relatively new Twitter user myself, I am nowhere close to maximizing its potential to enhance my professional life. However, the more I use it, the more I understand its possibilities. I hope other orthopaedic surgeons realize these possibilities as well, because, like all social-media platforms, Twitter is only as powerful as its users. The more of us who participate, the better we will be as physicians—and the care of our patients is bound to improve.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

Twitter Popularity Low Among Orthopaedic Surgeons

Results from a new JBJS study, Mobile Technology/Social Media Usage Among Orthopaedic Surgeons, show that 8% of orthopaedic surgeons are using Twitter for professional purposes, and only 6% of surgeons find Twitter helpful. Although usage of Twitter is relatively low, a handful of surgeons follow specific Twitter feeds with high degrees of loyalty.

TwitterFeeds Graphic

Trends in Social Media Usage among Orthopaedists

In a study by JBJS conducted with orthopaedic surgeons in December 2013, 19% report using Facebook for professional purposes, and 39% report using LinkedIn. Only 8% report using Twitter regularly for professional purposes, and there is no consensus on a single, dominant Twitter feed being followed.

When asked how social media will affect orthopaedic care, surgeons responded with a mixed bag of concerns regarding privacy issues, credibility, and direct-to-consumer marketing. However, 21% predicted that social media will have a positive impact on orthopaedic care, primarily for the patient. As one orthopaedic surgeon put it, “[social media] will be the place patients go for reviews of physicians, or to share info.”

According to Howard J. Luks, MD, it is important to have an online presence to help patients learn more about your practice, your qualifications, and find relevant videos. Beyond mainstream sites like LinkedIn, his recommendations for increasing your online presence include sites such as Doximity, HealthGrades, Vitals, ZocDoc, Yelp, and Google Places for Business.

For more detail on the JBJS technology usage study, watch for information about our upcoming webinar.