Journal of Pediatric Surgery: Effects of an automated social media strategy for knowledge dissemination

J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Oct 6;S0022-3468(20)30686-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.09.037. Online ahead of print.


Background/purpose: With increasing publications, it's hard to keep up with surgical literature. Social media is a valuable educational resource with global reach. We sought to analyze the impact of an automated social media strategy for the Journal of Pediatric Surgery (JPS).

Methods: Analytics for March-August 2019 were retrospectively reviewed for automated posts using a SocialPilot queue from the journal's RSS feed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were utilized to analyze performance, including journal article views.

Results: One hundred sixty-five posts amassed 512,316 impressions and 9,795 article views. Facebook had greater overall impact (p < 0.01). Twitter was stronger when adjusted by number of followers (p < 0.01). Engagements and article views had strong correlation between platforms (p < 0.01). Day of the week had limited impact. Photographs were the preferred content format (p < 0.05). Topic had the highest effect on performance (p < 0.05) - with colorectal, EA/TEF, and general pediatric surgery leading to higher reach and engagement. ECMO/CDH was the least popular. Comments and shares were negligible.

Conclusions: We reached 3,105 users, with 59 article views per post. Topic had the strongest effect on performance. For comparison, custom infographics reached 7,368 users and averaged 101 article views. Alternative knowledge dissemination strategies are likely needed to foster online discussion and build more robust forums for collaboration.

Type of study: Retrospective, Non-clinical Study.

Level of evidence: Level III.

Keywords: Facebook; Knowledge dissemination; Medical education; Social media; SocialPilot; Twitter.