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Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Nov 10, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Nov 10, 2020 - Jan 5, 2021
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Audience of Academic Otolaryngology on Twitter: Cross-Sectional Study

  • Deborah Xie; 
  • Emily F Boss; 
  • C. Matthew Stewart



Despite the ubiquity of social media, the utilization and audience reach of this communication method by otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (OHNS) departments has not been investigated.


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the content posted to a popular social media platform (Twitter) by OHNS departments.


In this cross-sectional study, we identified Twitter accounts for accredited academic OHNS residency programs. Tweets published over a 6-month period were extracted. Tweets were categorized and analyzed for source (original versus retweet) and target audience (medical versus layman). A sample of 100 tweets was used to identify patterns of content, which were then used to categorize additional tweets. We quantified the total number of likes or retweets by healthcare professionals.


Of 121 accredited programs, 35 (28.9%) had Twitter accounts. Of 2526 tweets in a 6-month period, 1695 (67.1%) were composed of original content tweets. The majority of tweets (75.7%) were targeted towards healthcare workers, most of which contained information about the department’s trainees and education (36.6%), participation at conferences (27.6%), and research publications (11.7%). Two-thirds of tweets did not contain medical information. Medical professionals accounted for 1249/1362 (91.7%) of retweets and 5616/6372 (88.1%) of likes on original-content tweets.


The majority of Twitter usage by OHNS departments is for intra- and interprofessional communication, and only a minority of tweets contain information geared towards the public. Communication and information sharing with patients is not the focus of otolaryngology departments on Twitter.


Please cite as:

Xie D, Boss EF, Stewart CM

Audience of Academic Otolaryngology on Twitter: Cross-Sectional Study

JMIR Preprints. 10/11/2020:25654

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.25654


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