Indexed on: 23 Apr '17Published on: 23 Apr '17Published in: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Twitter is a public microblogging platform that overcomes physical limitations and allows unrestricted participation beyond academic silos, enabling interactive discussions. Twitter-based journal clubs have demonstrated growth, sustainability, and worldwide communication, using a hashtag (#) to follow participation. This article describes the first year of #GeriMedJC, a monthly 1-hour live, 23-hour asynchronous Twitter-based complement to the traditional-format geriatric medicine journal club. The Twitter moderator tweets from the handle @GeriMedJC; encourages use of #GeriMedJC; and invites content experts, study authors, and followers to participate in critical appraisal of medical literature. Using the hashtag #GeriMedJC, tweets were categorized according to thematic content, relevance to the journal club, and authorship. Third-party analytical tools Symplur and Twitter Analytics were used for growth and effect metrics (number of followers, participants, tweets, retweets, replies, impressions). Qualitative analysis of follower and participant profiles was used to establish country of origin and occupation. A semistructured interview of postgraduate trainees was conducted to ascertain qualitative aspects of the experience. In the first year, @GeriMedJC has grown to 541 followers on six continents. Most followers were physicians (43%), two-thirds of which were geriatricians. Growth metrics increased over 12 months, with a mean of 121 tweets, 25 participants, and 105,831 impressions per journal club. Tweets were most often related to the article being appraised (87.5%) and ranged in thematic content from clinical practice (29%) to critical appraisal (24%) to medical education (20%). #GeriMedJC is a feasible example of using social media platforms such as Twitter to encourage international and interprofessional appraisal of medical literature.