Social media’s ‘like’ effect increases clout of popular RSNA education exhibits

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The more “likes” viewers give digital RSNA electronic education exhibits (EEEs), the more likely those EEEs are to win RSNA awards and/or be chosen to run in RSNA’s medical-education journal RadioGraphics.

Likewise, the more awards and publishing invitations a digital EEE receives, the more likes it will subsequently attract.

So find Paul Bunch, MD, Jeremy Wortman, MD, and Katherine Andriole, PhD, all of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who analyzed the “like effect” on 1,856 EEEs at RSNA 2013 and 1,793 EEEs at RSNA 2014.

At both those annual meetings, in-person and virtual EEE viewers were offered the chance to like an unlimited number of EEEs—a la Facebook and Instagram posts—and they could like a specific exhibit only once.

The researchers tallied the like counts at two time points per meeting.

The first was the midpoint of the meeting, three days deep in EEE eyeballing but before announcements were made on awards and RadioGraphics invitations.

The second was near the end of the meeting, after these announcements were made.

In both observed meeting years, there were “statistically significant associations between initial and overall exhibit popularity and exhibit recognition, as well as between exhibit recognition and subsequent popularity,” the authors write in their study, which posted online Dec. 4 in Academic Radiology.

For example, at the 2014 meeting, EEEs receiving at least 15 likes over the first half of the meeting had a 36 percent chance of being recognized with an award compared to a 22 percent chance for EEEs with fewer than 15 likes.

Similarly, in 2013, EEEs receiving at least 15 likes over the first half of the meeting had a 44.4 percent chance of being recognized with an award compared to a 22.7 percent chance for EEEs with fewer than 15 likes.

The effect was comparable for exhibitors invited to publish in RadioGraphics.

Bunch et al. recorded more than 11,000 likes at the 2014 meeting, a 152 percent increase over the 4,391 likes the previous year, while finding no significant difference between meeting years in the number of exhibits chosen for awards (423 vs. 404, P = 0.88) or for RadioGraphics solicitation (190 vs. 169, P  = 0.46).

“The use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media has been described in the radiology literature for the purposes of medical education, public outreach and practice marketing, disseminating scientific research and increasing journal readership,” the authors note in their study discussion.

“As social media continues to become an increasingly accepted forum for scholarly discourse and as the benefits of social media in the context of medical society meetings become more apparent,” they conclude, “it is possible that other major medical societies will follow the example of the RSNA in developing and promoting additional medical societal social media platforms.”

(And speaking of healthcare social media, have you checked out the Twitter feeds of HealthImaging and RadiologyBusiness lately?)