#colorectalsurgery is an innovative method for bridging barriers and strengthening collaboration among global coloproctologists
A pilot study examining to the utility of the hashtag #colorectalsurgery in promoting a specialty-specific forum to increase discussion and science among coloproctologists, has concluded that #colorectalsurgery is an innovative method for bridging barriers and strengthening collaboration among global coloproctologists.
The paper, ‘#colorectalsurgery’, was published in the BJS by authors from Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, and University College London, London, UK, Florida Hospital, Orlando and Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston, FL, USA and the Universidad Compluntense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
For the study, the researchers promoted the hashtag #colorectalsurgery for 180 days and data on all tweets containing the #colorectalsurgery hashtag were analysed using online analytical tools – including the total number of tweets, number of views, user engagement, content of tweet/s and user demographic.
The authors report that during the 180-day pilot period, the number of tweets using #colorectalsurgery was 15,708, which resulted in 65,398,696 impressions and involved 1,863 individual Twitter accounts (Figure 1).
The use of #colorectalsurgery escalated around three major international colorectal surgical conferences - (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) Annual Scientific Meeting, the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain & Ireland (ACPGBI) 2016 Annual General Meeting and the 11th Annual Scientific Meeting of the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP)) – perhaps highlighting the of ease of use of social media to quickly disseminate information.
Unsurprisingly, the top 25 Twitter users who posted #colorectalsurgery tweets had a large impact on the total number of #colorectal tweets, generating 51.1 per cent of the total #colorectalsurgery tweets (8,023 of 15,708), the authors report.
The tweets posted on #colorectalsurgery came from mostly developed countries, with high levels from the UK (3,132 of 8,023, 39.0 per cent), Spain (2,540 of 8,023, 31.7 per cent) and the USA (1,527 of 8,023, 19.0 per cent).
Interestingly, the authors noted a gender disparity with just over 10 per cent from accounts held by female users, which they believe may also reflect current demographics of senior colorectal workforce.
“This pilot study has demonstrated the success of engaging those interested in coloproctology in a social media campaign, with sustained use of the hashtag #colorectalsurgery evident throughout the trial,” the researcher concluded. “In an era of restricted access to education and global knowledge, #colorectalsurgery provides an innovative method for bridging barriers and strengthening collaboration among global coloproctologists, providing translational lessons for all surgical subspecialties.”
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