Comparison of Social Media Utilization Among Vascular Surgeons, Interventional Cardiologists, and Interventional Radiologists at Academic Training Institutions

Zachary J. Wanken, J. Aaron Barnes, Mark A. Eid, John B. Rode, Sarah Y. Bessen, Peter B. Anderson, Edward D. Gifford, Philip P. Goodney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Social media platforms, especially Twitter, are increasingly utilized across medical practice, education, and research. However, little is known about differences in social media use among physicians of varying specialties and its impact on recruitment of trainees. Our objective was to describe differences in social media use among vascular interventional proceduralists at academic training institutions. Methods: We identified institutions with training programs in vascular surgery (VS), interventional radiology (IR), and interventional cardiology (IC). Faculty providers were identified in each specialty at these institutions. A standardized search was used to identify non-anonymous social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in September 2019. Influencers were defined as physicians with more than 1,000 Twitter followers. Follow ratio was defined as the number of followers divided by the number of accounts followed. Between-specialty differences were analyzed. Results: A total of 1,330 providers (n = 454 VS, n=451 IR, n = 425 IC) were identified across 47 institutions in 27 states. Across all physicians, a minority of providers utilize social media (Facebook: 24.9%, n = 331; Instagram: 10.8%, n = 143; Twitter: 18.0%, n = 240). VS were significantly more likely to use Instagram (P = 0.001) but there was not a significant difference in utilization of Facebook and Twitter. Among Twitter users, VS had fewer followers on average (median 178, inter-quartile range [IQR] 39-555) than IR (median 272, IQR 50-793, P = 0.26) and IC (median 286, IQR 71-1257, P = 0.052). IC were most likely to be influencers (30.9%, n = 25) followed by IR (17.9%, n = 15) and VS (10.7%, n = 8, P = 0.006). On average, interventional cardiologists had the highest follow ratio (mean 4.9 ± 7.1) compared to interventional radiologists (mean 3.2 ± 5.5) and vascular surgeons (mean 2.5 ± 3.3, P < 0.001). Conclusion: A minority of academic vascular interventional proceduralists utilize social media in a non-anonymous manner. On Twitter, interventional cardiologists are most likely to be influencers based on number of followers and, on average, have the highest follow ratio. Vascular surgeons could potentially benefit from pursuing greater influence and visibility on social media as a means to recruit trainees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Apr 2022


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