With a prediction of 2.77 billion worldwide users this year and 3.02 billion in 2021, the influence and growth of social media continue to increase. Some researchers think that because of its prevalence, social media will inevitably become part of scholarly communication.
Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others that allow content sharing fall under the social media umbrella. In the research world, these platforms can be used to promote new research and encourage feedback, keep up with recent findings, and possibly even predict papers that will be highly cited.
An example from Canada shows the power of social media. A civil engineering professor at the University of Toronto posted a tweet requesting followers to participate in a survey for her research about the impact of air pollution on cyclists. Although she only had 100 Twitter followers, her tweet caught the attention of staff at a cycling magazine who wrote a blog post about her research. That blog post led to a front-page story in a local paper and subsequently gained even more media coverage from outlets such as Global TV and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Ochsner Journal staff understands the benefits of using social media. We post regularly on one of the Ochsner Health System official Twitter accounts (@Ochsneredu), tweeting about articles published in the Journal and about posts from the Journal blog. We ask our authors to provide tweets about their articles, but for those who are unfamiliar with the social media world, we create tweets for them. Our primary goal is to promote the interesting, important work being published in the Journal and to increase its visibility.