Social Media for Academic Neurosurgical Programs: The University of Toronto Experience Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of available strategies to increase visibility and engagement in social media (SM) within the neurosurgical community. The objective of this study was to investigate the possible factors for engagement and reach among SM users in neurosurgery. METHODS: Data from Facebook and Twitter accounts of our institution were collected. We extracted data on demographics and attributes of our current users, including sex, country, age group, device used, and language. Attributes of SM posts were also collected, including time of post, type and content of post, impressions, and engagements. Nonparametric analyses were conducted to evaluate differences in metrics. RESULTS: Metrics were obtained on 192 Facebook and Twitter posts, published online between October 1, 2013, and March 13, 2016. On both platforms, there was a greater representation of male users relative to female users. Facebook users were predominantly in the 18-34 years age range (83%), with most users being from outside of North America. Conversely, users from Canada and the United States comprised the highest proportion of Twitter users. On both platforms, posts containing photos or videos scored significantly higher in engagements and impressions (P < 0.05). Posts on weekdays and during work hours achieved higher visibility and engagements. Moreover, Facebook posts demonstrated higher SM metrics if they mentioned faculty with more than 16 years' experience (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The current study demonstrates that our SM users predominantly comprise a younger demographic and that content optimization with media materials may lead to higher visibility and engagement. The impact of high SM reach on academic neurosurgical programs remains to be determined.


  • Alotaibi, Naif M
  • Samuel, Nardin
  • Guha, Daipayan
  • Nassiri, Farshad
  • Badhiwala, Jetan H
  • Tam, Joseph
  • Shamji, Mohammed F
  • Kulkarni, Abhaya V
  • Macdonald, R Loch
  • Lozano, Andres M

publication date

  • September 2016