Adoption and Utilization of Social Media among Adult and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Divisions and Fellowship Programs in the United States

Jonathan H. Ryder, Clayton Mowrer, Zachary Van Roy, Elizabeth Lyden, Kelly A. Cawcutt, Jasmine R. Marcelin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Social media (SoMe) is ubiquitous, but its adoption and utilization by infectious diseases (ID) divisions are poorly characterized in the United States. Methods. A systematic search of US ID fellowship/division Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts occurred in November–December 2021. Social media account and program characteristics, post frequency and content, and other measures of SoMe adoption and utilization were recorded and compared between adult and pediatric programs. Posts were thematically categorized as social, promotional, educational, recruitment, or other. Results. Of 222 ID programs identified, 158 (71.2%) were adult and 64 (28.8%) pediatric. Seventy (31.5%) Twitter, 14 (6.3%) Facebook, and 14 (6.3%) Instagram accounts were identified from US programs. Twitter accounts were associated with larger programs and higher match rates. More adult than pediatric programs had Twitter accounts (37.3% vs 17.2%, P = .004); utilization was similar between adult and pediatric programs. Most Twitter posts were educational (1653 of 2859, 57.8%); most Facebook posts were promotional (68 of 128, 53.1%); and most Instagram posts were social (34 of 79, 43%). Facebook was the earliest adopted SoMe platform, but Twitter and Instagram have more recent growth. Rate of Twitter account creation increased from 1.33 accounts/month in the year before March 2020 (coronavirus disease [COVID] pandemic declaration) to 2.58 accounts/month in the year after March 2020 (P = .18). Conclusions. Social media remains underutilized across ID divisions, but COVID-19 and virtual recruiting may have influenced recent account creation. Twitter was the most frequently used ID program SoMe platform. Social media may benefit ID programs in recruitment and amplification of their trainees, faculty, and specialty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberofad065
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Facebook
  • infectious diseases fellowship
  • Instagram
  • social media
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Infectious Diseases


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