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Ways of communication have changed considerably in recent years. The latest innovation is what has become known as ‘social media’. Wikipedia (itself a social platform) defines social media as “the means of interactions among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”1 You probably use some different social websites, for example, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, YouTube, Skype, Flickr, Wordpress, Reddit, Mendeley, etc. These are the more popular among a much larger mix of social platforms.
The foremost strength of social media is the constant availability of interaction with your peers through mobile devices. Today, smart phones pack the computing power of a low-end laptop in the palm of your hand. Thereby, you can communicate and share messages, pictures, videos and music, with your social network wherever you are and whenever you want.
You do not need to be an active user of social media to grasp its potential. You can be a so-called listener or lurker. “In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little and 1% of users account for almost all the action.”2 The practical use of sifting through discussions and other people's messages is that you can follow topics of interest (eg, concussion), colleagues (eg, @RoaldBahr, @ProfJillCook) or journals, thereby gaining a very quick view of the …
Competing interests KMK is Editor in Chief of the BJSM. He is one of the contributors to BJSM Twitter and Facebook accounts, and one of the interview team for podcasts. EV is a Senior Associate Editor of BJSM. CB is Digital Communications Manager at BMJ.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.