Introduction: With increased social isolation due to COVID-19, social media has been increasingly adopted for communication, education, and entertainment. We sought to understand the frequency and characteristics of social media usage among general surgery trainees. Materials and methods: General surgery trainees in 15 American training programs were invited to participate in an anonymous electronic survey. The survey included questions about demographics, frequency of social media usage, and perceptions of risks and benefits of social media. Univariate analysis was performed to identify differences between high users of social media (4-7 h per week on at least one platform) and low users (0-3 h or less on all platforms). Results: One hundred fifty-seven of 591 (26.6%) trainees completed the survey. Most respondents were PGY3 or lower (75%) and high users of social media (74.5%). Among high users, the most popular platforms were Instagram (85.7%), YouTube (85.1%), and Facebook (83.6%). YouTube and Twitter were popular for surgical education (77.3% and 68.2%, respectively). The most reported benefits of social media were improving patient education and professional networking (85.0%), where high users agreed more strongly about these benefits (P = 0.002). The most reported risks were seeing other residents (42%) or attendings (17%) with unprofessional behavior. High users disagreed more strongly about risks, including observing attendings with unprofessional behavior (P = 0.028). Conclusions: Most respondents were high users of social media, particularly Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. High users incorporated social media into their surgical education while perceiving more benefits and fewer risks of social media.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes