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Social media, advertising, and internet use among general and bariatric surgeons

Abstract

Introduction

The use of the internet and technology has increased, and its implication with medicine is inevitable. Along with these technologies, social media platforms have changed the interaction between peers, forcing an evolution on medical activities and patient relationship. There is no clear information on how surgeons interact with these platforms within their daily practice.

Methods

A transverse study with a survey obtained from general and bariatric surgeons from Mexico was performed, aimed to gather information about social media platforms use (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn). Personal, professional, academic, and marketing activities were analyzed and compared between general and bariatric surgeons. Secondly, the same analysis was performed in younger participants. Other variables were also analyzed, such as type of marketing and monthly budget.

Results

We obtained 523 surveys (84.1% general and 15.8% bariatric surgeons), where male gender comprised 86.4%. Almost a third considered social media as an important tool. In 53% of the cases, Facebook was preferred for professional activities; Twitter was the second most used. Bariatric surgeons were younger, used all platforms more frequently, and preferred Facebook for every activity. They also invested more in publicity, and showed wider marketing methods than general surgeons.

Conclusion

There is an important awareness of internet and social media use among general and bariatric surgeons. Facebook leads the activities for both specialties (personal, professional, academic, and marketing), but bariatric surgeons are significantly more involved; additionally, there are more marketing strategies and investment among them.

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Author information

Correspondence to Carlos Zerrweck.

Ethics declarations

Disclosures

The author (Dr. Zerrweck) and coauthors (Dr. Arana Dr. Calleja, Dr. Rodríguez, Dr. Moreno, Dr. Pantoja, and Dr. Donatini) have no conflict of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Ethical approval

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Additional information

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Annex 1: Social media, internet, and advertising survey

Annex 1: Social media, internet, and advertising survey

  1. 1.

    Gender

    1. a.

      Male

    2. b.

      Female

  2. 2.

    Main specialty (the one you practice the most, choose one):

    1. a.

      General surgery

    2. b.

      Colo-Rectal

    3. c.

      Chest

    4. d.

      Transplant

    5. e.

      Bariatric

    6. f.

      Vascular

  3. 3.

    Age

    1. a.

      25–35

    2. b.

      36–45

    3. c.

      46–55

    4. d.

      56–65

    5. e.

      66 or more

  4. 4.

    Do you consider social media

    1. a.

      Not very useful in our guild

    2. b.

      They are very useful

    3. c.

      They expose doctors

    4. d.

      They lend to misinform rather than informing

    5. e.

      I don´t care

  5. 5.

    Why do you use them?

    1. a.

      Contact friends and family

    2. b.

      Share material for academic use.

    3. c.

      Contact with patients.

    4. d.

      Marketing and publicity.

    5. e.

      All of the above.

  6. 6.

    How much time do you spend on social media for PERSONAL use (not academic)?

    1. a.

      Daily (multiple times).

    2. b.

      Daily (once a day)

    3. c.

      2–3 times per week.

    4. d.

      Weekends.

    5. e.

      I have accounts, but I do not use them.

    6. f.

      I do not have/Do not use

  7. 7.

    Which social media do you use more FREQUENTLY for personal purpose?

    1. a.

      Facebook

    2. b.

      Instagram

    3. c.

      Twitter

    4. d.

      LinkedIn

    5. e.

      Any

  8. 8.

    Which social media do you use more FREQUENTLY for professional purpose?

    1. a.

      Facebook

    2. b.

      Instagram

    3. c.

      Twitter

    4. d.

      LinkedIn

    5. e.

      Any

    6. f.

      Internet page

  9. 9.

    Which social media do you use more FREQUENTLY for academic purpose?

    1. a.

      Facebook

    2. b.

      Instagram

    3. c.

      Twitter

    4. d.

      LinkedIn

    5. e.

      None

  10. 10.

    What academic activities do you perform through social network?

    1. a.

      Share/search articles or medical info.

    2. b.

      Discuss/comment articles

    3. c.

      Upload and/or discuss videos

    4. d.

      Opinion/polls

    5. e.

      Live surgeries

    6. f.

      Search expert opinions

  11. 11.

    How much time do you dedicate to the ACADEMIC/PROFESSIONAL use of social media?

    1. a.

      Daily (multiple times)

    2. b.

      Daily (once a day)

    3. c.

      2–3 times per week

    4. d.

      Weekends.

    5. e.

      I have accounts, but I do not use them

    6. f.

      I do not have/Do not use

  12. 12.

    Which ones do you use for marketing purposes?

    1. a.

      Facebook

    2. b.

      Instagram

    3. c.

      Twitter

    4. d.

      LinkedIn

    5. e.

      Own website

    6. f.

      Medical directories/database

    7. g.

      None of the above

  13. 13.

    What kind of advertising do you use through social networks?

    1. a.

      Advertisements

    2. b.

      Offers and promotions

    3. c.

      Description of services

    4. d.

      Awareness

    5. e.

      Testimonials

    6. f.

      Videos/articles

  14. 14.

    My professional practice is mostly:

    1. a.

      Public

    2. b.

      Private

    3. c.

      Both

    4. d.

      Resident

  15. 15.

    In case of investing in professional promotion, on a monthly basis:

    1. a.

      There is no monthly expense

    2. b.

      Expense less than 50 USD

    3. c.

      Expense between 50 and 100 USD

    4. d.

      Expense around 250 USD

    5. e.

      Expense more than 250 USD

  16. 16.

    Which social network (only one) is the one you use the most professionally?

    1. a.

      Facebook

    2. b.

      Instagram

    3. c.

      Twitter

    4. d.

      LinkedIn

    5. e.

      None

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Cite this article

Zerrweck, C., Arana, S., Calleja, C. et al. Social media, advertising, and internet use among general and bariatric surgeons. Surg Endosc (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-019-06933-5

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Keywords

  • Bariatric surgery
  • Social media
  • General surgery
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Internet