Aims The increased use of social media creates opportunity for new, effective methods of delivering medical and clinical education. Twitter is a popular social media platform where users can post frequent updates and create threads containing related content using hashtags. This study aims to investigate and analyse the type of content relating to orthopaedic surgery that is being posted on the platform of Twitter.
Methods A retrospective search was performed for tweets containing the words ‘orthopaedic surgery’ or ‘orthopedic surgery’ or the use of the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’ between November 2018 to November 2019. A total of 5243 tweets were included.
Results Tweets containing ‘orthopaedic surgery’ or ‘orthopedic surgery’ most frequently contained promotional or marketing content (30% promotional, 21% marketing), and private organisations were the category of author to which the greatest number of tweets belonged (30%). Tweets containing educational or research content were the least common among all tweets containing ‘orthopaedic surgery’ or ‘orthopedic surgery’ (11%). In contrast, of the tweets containing the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’, 44% contained educational or research content, 15% contained promotional content and no tweets containing marketing content. Furthermore, 87% of all tweets using the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’ were from orthopaedic surgeons, and the least number of tweets were from private organisations (2%).
Conclusion Twitter is a widely used social media platform regarding orthopaedic surgery. We propose that the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’ can be used to create an online community of orthopaedic surgeons where members can assist one another through sharing reliable and educational content.
- Surgery Orthopaedics
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Contributors SF and UA conceived the study. MAS, SF and UA developed the methodology. MAS and ZG-M collected and analysed the data. MAS wrote the first draft and all other authors (ZG-M, SF and UA) contributed to subsequent revisions. All authors reviewed and gave their approval of the final draft.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication The study design and conduct was carried out virtually using publicly available information on the Twitter platform. The authors therefore maintain that patient and public involvement was not appropriate in this study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.
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