Influence of Social Media on the Dissemination of a Traditional Surgical Research Article

Eee LN H. Buckarma, Cornelius A. Thiels, Becca L. Gas, Daniel Cabrera, Juliane Bingener-Casey, David R. Farley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective Many institutions use social media to share research with the general public. However, the influence of social media on the dissemination of a surgical research article itself is unknown. Our objective was to determine whether a blog post highlighting the findings of a surgical research article would lead to increased dissemination of the article itself. Design We prospectively followed the online page views of an article that was published online in Surgery in May 2015 and published in print in August 2015. The authors subsequently released a blog post in October 2015 to promote the research. The number of article page views from the journal's website was obtained before and after the blog post, along with the page views from the blog post itself. Social media influence data were collected, including social activity in the form of mentions on social media sites, scholarly activity in online libraries, and scholarly commentary. Results The article's online activity peaked in the first month after online publication (475 page views). Online activity plateaued by 4 months after publication, with 118 monthly page views, and a blog post was subsequently published. The blog post was viewed by 1566 readers, and readers spent a mean of 2.5 minutes on the page. When compared to the projected trend, the page views increased by 33% in the month after the blog post. The blog post resulted in a 9% increase in the social media influence score and a 5% absolute increase in total article page views. Conclusions Social media is an important tool for sharing surgical research. Our data suggest that social media can increase distribution of an article's message and also potentially increase dissemination of the article itself. We believe that authors should consider using social media to increase the dissemination of traditionally published articles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Medical Knowledge
  • Surgery publication
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • alternative media
  • blog
  • dissemination
  • knowledge translation
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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