Is Twitter dying for the Ophthalmologist?
Rob Melendez, MD, MBA and Pavan Angadi, MD
We performed a study to investigate whether ophthalmologists are joining Twitter at an increasing rate and to determine whether they are more active on the site. We searched for ophthalmologists using the following terms: “ophthalmologist”, “ophthalmology”, and “eye surgeon.” We found that ophthalmologists started joining in 2007 when Twitter started and the number of new users was at their maximum in 2009 (56) and has been declining since then and in 2017 only one ophthalmologist joined Twitter (See Figure 1). There were obviously more ophthalmologists on Twitter, but were difficult to identify because they failed to mention in their profiles that they were an ophthalmologist. This raises the issue of why some ophthalmologists are on Twitter. The ones who did not self identify themselves as ophthalmologists are likely on Twitter more for personal use and not professional reasons to educate others.
We also investigated how active these ophthalmologist have been in 2016 and 2017. We found that the average number of tweets/month in 2016 was 60.6 and in 2017 it increased to 80.4 (38.6% increase). We also found that the total number of active users increased from 138 in 2016 to 169 in 2017 (22.5%). We also identified the total number of tweets from these ophthalmologists in 2016 was 3739 and 5865 in 2017, which was an 56.9% increase. We found that although the number of new users on Twitter has declined since 2009, the existing users of Twitter has increased. Given the paucity of ophthalmologists on Twitter, suggests that it is a great opportunity for more ophthalmologists to become leaders on Twitter to educate others. We also identified which types of ophthalmologist are most active on Twitter (see Figure 2).
Figure 1. Number of Ophthalmologists on Twitter and what year they started. Figure 2. Ophthalmologist Twitter Users by Subspecialty