Background: Social media has become ubiquitous in modern medicine. Academic neurosurgery has increased adoption to promote individual and departmental accomplishments, engage with patients, and foster collaboration. We sought to quantitatively evaluate the adoption of one of the most used social media platforms, Twitter, within academic neurosurgery. Methods: A quantitative and qualitative analysis of Twitter use across 118 academic neurosurgery departments with residency programs in the United States was performed in March 2019 and March 2021. We collated Twitter handles, Doximity residency ranking (a peer-determined ranking system), geographic location, and Twitter demographics (tweets, followers, likes, and tweet content) from before and after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Tweet content was characterized by reviewers over a predetermined 6-month period. Linear regression and parametric/nonparametric tests were used for analysis. Results: Departmental accounts grew 3.7 accounts per year between 2009 and 2019 (R2 = 0.96), but 43 accounts (130%) were added between 2019 (n = 33) and 2021 (n = 76). This growth, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, changed the model from linear to exponential growth (R2 = 0.97). The highest-ranking programs based on Doximity were significantly more likely to have an account (P < 0.001) and have more followers (P < 0.0001). Tweet content analysis revealed prioritization of faculty/resident activity (mean 49.9%) throughout the quartiles. Conclusions: We demonstrate rapid uptake in Twitter use among U.S. academic neurosurgical departments, accelerated by COVID-19. With the impact of COVID-19, it is clear that there will be continued rapid adoption of this platform within neurosurgery, and future studies should explore the outcomes of peer collaboration, patient engagement, and dissemination of medical information.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology