Andrew S Wright, MD1, Alejandro Rodriguez-Garcia, MD1, Jason C Levine2, Heather L Evans, MD1. 1University of Washington, 2Society for American Gastroenterologist and Endoscopic Surgeons
Over the past 5 years there has been a dramatic rise in the use of social media by surgeons, allied personnel, and patients during the SAGES Annual Meetings. The aim of this study is to explore changes in the rate of Twitter utilization as well as to determine how Twitter is being used for educational, social, or other purposes with regards to the SAGES Annual Meeting.
Methods: Tweets were searched and archived from twitter.com for the hashtags #SAGES2010, #SAGES2011, #SAGES2012, #SAGES2013, #SAGES2014, and #SAGES2015. For the years 2014 and 2015 the total number of participants and the number of hashtag impressions were obtained from the Healthcare Hashtag Project (www.symplur.com). Participants are defined as all twitter users that tweet, retweet, or favorite tweets. Impressions are defined as the number of Twitter users exposed to tweets on a subject multiplied by the number of tweets to which each user is exposed. Tweets from 2015 were analyzed for content. Descriptive statistics were generated in Microsoft Excel.
Results: The number of tweets related to SAGES Annual Meetings increased from 2 in 2010 to 1256 in 2015, with the number of individuals posting tweets going from 1 to 189 (Table). Total participants increased from 278 in 2014 to 522 in 2015. The total number of impressions rose from 1,152,491 in 2014 to 5,354,291 in 2015. Over the five years studied, 42% of all tweets were retweeted at least once while 37% were marked as favorite. In 2015 the most common category of tweet was discussion of meeting content (567 tweets) followed by administrative (271), social (253), and industry/marketing (94). Among the discussion tweets, specific content areas included: Surgical Education (112), Foregut (99), Hernia (65), Outcomes/Patient Safety (51), Hepatobiliary (49), Career Development (47), Colorectal (39), Global Health (27), Bariatrics (25), and Pediatric Surgery (11).
Discussion: Use of Twitter during and around the SAGES Annual Meeting has expanded dramatically over the last 5 years. As an educational and communication tool, Twitter is used for many purposes during the Annual Meeting, most notably discussion of medical knowledge. This presents an opportunity for enhanced learning and dissemination of knowledge as well as for outreach to surgeons and other interested parties who may not be able to attend the meeting. The SAGES organization should continue to support and encourage discussion via social media.