Objective: To analyze the association between US urology department Twitter presence and U.S. News and World Report (USNWR) reputation scores, to examine the content, informational value, and intended audience of these platforms, and to identify objectives for Twitter use.
Materials and methods: We identified Twitter accounts for urology departments scored in the 2016-2017 USNWR. Correlation coefficients were calculated between Twitter metrics (number of followers, following, tweets, and Klout influence scores) with USNWR reputation scores. We also performed a detailed content analysis of urology department tweets during a 6-month period to characterize the content. Finally, we distributed a survey to the urology department accounts via Twitter, inquiring who administers the content, and their objectives for Twitter use.
Results: Among 42 scored urology departments with Twitter accounts, the median number of followers, following, and tweets were 337, 193, and 115, respectively. All of these Twitter metrics had a statistically significant positive correlation with reputation scores (P <.05). Content analyses revealed that most tweets were about conferences, education, and publications, targeting the general public or urologic community. Survey results revealed that the primary reason for twitter use among urology departments was visibility and reputation, and urologists are considered the most important target audience.
Conclusion: There is statistically significant correlation between Twitter activity and USNWR reputation scores for urology departments. Our results suggest that Twitter provides a novel mechanism for urology departments to communicate about academic and educational topics, and social media engagement can enhance reputation.
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