Background: Online and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia are prevalent in every day life. Many journals and organisations, including Cochrane, have established cohesive dissemination strategies through these platforms.
Objectives: To illustrate social media strategies adopted by Cochrane United States (US) and Cochrane Eyes and Vision US satellite (CEV@US); to discuss considerations and challenges in evaluating social media strategies for communication and dissemination.
Methods: Cochrane US and CEV@US employ numerous strategies to disseminate our work, including a Twitter account with 797 followers and a Facebook group with 357 members. We also cite Cochrane reviews in YouTube videos and Wikipedia articles.
Three metrics can be used to measure social media impact: 1) exposure, i.e. the number of followers, viewers, and subscribers; 2) engagement, i.e. the number of links clicked, message retweeted, liked, or commented on; and, 3) influence, i.e. whether the engagement metrics above are positive, neutral, or negative in sentiment.
For example, to examine engagement, we used data from the '2015 Cochrane Review Group Impact Factor and Usage'” report to identify all completed Cochrane reviews published in 2015. We matched publications by their DOIs to the number of tweets, full-text downloads, abstract-views, and Wikipedia and news articles citing the review.
Results:We identified 943 Cochrane reviews published in 2015 with data available for the number of full-text downloads and tweets. We observed moderate correlation between the number of tweets and downloads (rho = .46) and abstract-views (rho = .42) (Table). However, because we do not know the temporality of tweets, downloads and other explanatory factors, we cannot make causal inferences. We will report analyses of other online and social media platforms.
Conclusions: Preliminary data indicate that Twitter may be associated with access to published Cochrane reviews. We wish to explore the important issues of using online and social media with the attendees.