Methods and Results—Articles were randomized to receive targeted social media exposure from Circulation, including postings on the journal's Facebook and Twitter feeds. The primary end-point was 30-day article page views. We conducted an intention-to-treat analysis comparing article page views by the Wilcoxon Rank sum test between papers randomized to social media as compared to those in the control group, which received no social media from Circulation. Pre-specified subgroups included article type (population/clinical/basic), US vs. non-US corresponding author, and whether the manuscript received an editorial. Overall, 243 manuscripts were randomized: 121 in the social media arm and 122 in the control arm. There was no difference in median 30-day page views (409 [social media] vs 392 [control], p=0.80)...
Conclusion—A social media strategy for a cardiovascular journal did not increase the number of times an article was viewed. Further research is necessary to understand the ways in which social media can increase the impact of published cardiovascular research.
The major weakness in this study is that it looked only at the effect of Circulation's own social media outlets, not the effect of medical social media in general. The social media influence may be more than this study indicates although other studies suggest that it remains low despite the growing enthusiasm for FOAM and similar initiatives.
More from Cardiobrief and the Mayo Social Media Health Network.