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The social media conundrum
  1. Gabor Toth1,
  2. Luis Savastano2,
  3. Bharathi D Jagadeesan3
  1. 1 Cerebrovascular Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  2. 2 Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3 Department of Radiology, Neurosurgery and Neurology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gabor Toth, Cerebrovascular Center, CCF, Cleveland Heights 44195, Ohio, USA; tothg{at}

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The impact and influence of social media has been steadily increasing over the last decade. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn are just a few examples of frequented platforms.1 The medical fraternity too has been inevitably impacted by social media, in both favorable and undesirable ways. Lofty goals such as patient education, dissemination of latest trial results, and even recruitment for research studies could be potentially accomplished with great speed and efficacy when social media are harnessed. However, more often than not, these advantages may come at the cost of blurred professional and personal boundaries, and without peer review and oversight.

More and more medical societies and specialties are publishing recommendations on social media usage and its utility.2–8 A recent guideline from the SNIS standards and guidelines committee also sought to address some of the many challenging features of social media use for neurointerventionalists, and provided an excellent overview of applicable regulations, medical-legal aspects, ethical considerations, and policies with some recommendations on posting on social media platforms.2 We seek to further this work by exploring some of the fundamental motivations that underlie social media usage, and the issues that may arise from social media posts. As we propose a few potential solutions, we also hope to continue a creative discussion in our community about this challenging and evolving topic.

The underlying basic driving forces behind social media posts could be broken down into several positive and negative elements including: education and teaching, recognition/motivational, advertisement and self-promotion, instant reward, competition, corporate pressures, and FOMO (fear of missing out). Of course, these components may often overlap or appear in combination. Positive motivation can result in …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.