Social media is now being used by surgeons for interaction among peers, informal learning, exchange of technical information, and diffusion of ideas.

A study has examined posting and membership data from a closed Facebook page, the “Robotic Surgery Collaboration,” created by surgeons who practice robotic-assisted procedures. Overall, the findings show exponential growth in membership in January 2015 through August 2016, some signs of stagnating engagement, and use of the platform for peer-to-peer learning and discussion.

The investigators used the Grytics program to analyze membership numbers, frequency of posting, and the engagement in different times of postings. These robotic surgery clinicians “appear to post on the platform more often during the middle of the week, and text posts receive more active engagement (comments) than multimedia posts, while multimedia posts receive more passive responses (likes) than text posts,” said Christopher Myers, PhD, and his associates.

“The growth in this group over time suggests that surgeons found it useful for engaging in informal interactions and learning vicariously from one another, but also reveals that not all users were actively engaged in these interactions each month and that growth in active membership differed from growth in overall group membership (as evident in the stagnating growth of active members, despite continued growth in total members),” the investigators concluded. Read the full study at Ann Surg. 2017 Aug 29. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002479 . (Epub ahead of print).