Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Calling All “Social Media in Medicine” Papers!
Lend your voice to the JACR December 2017 special issue on social media in medicine.
In ye days of olde, reproducing text was extremely laborious: at no more than a few pages per day via manual copying or woodblock printing, a single book could take months to duplicate. Around 1440, the advent of the movable-type printing press revolutionized publishing. Although the time for type set-up was time-consuming, the printing press allowed dozens of copies of a page to be printed in an hour. Printing in bulk permitted the mass dissemination of a variety of written content and also helped promote greater literacy. As sea routes for trade (and missionary work) opened up, the demand for print shops increased. The distribution of printed material flourished.
Before Gutenberg's invention and widespread literacy, word-of-mouth was the primary means of communication. Therefore, town criers served a critical social function, keeping the populace abreast of important news such as announcing market days, tax increases, and everything in between. After reading the message, the town crier would then attach it to the door post.
Social media is the modern equivalent of town square announcements, but these modern messages reach far more people, with 24/7 accessibility, and disseminate content to every corner of the globe without having to risk a sea crossing. Anyone and everyone with access to social media can be their own crier, announcing whatever they want, including personal news and opinions, even if no one seems to be listening. Social media platforms have brought word-of-mouth full circle, a lightning-fast hare compared with the unacceptably slow amble of the printed newspaper tortoise. The once-mighty printing press has ceded dominance of volume-based communications to the ability of one person with a computer to deliver their content to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people by just clicking "send."
When it comes to social media in scholarly health care publishing, the JACR is leading the charge. Under the leadership of deputy editor Ruth Carlos, MD, the JACR has already published an array of articles on social media in radiology (see selected articles ) and also holds monthly tweetchats, posts on its own YouTube channel, sponsored a hackathon at last year's ACR annual meeting, and won a Symplur Research Challenge by creating a digital community of health care providers and patients that resulted in sustained engagement. All these efforts are means of connecting people to information, with a focus on patient- and family-centered care.
By purposefully marrying the content of a traditional scholarly journal to a digital community enabled and sustained by social media, JACR is revolutionizing how people — health care providers and patients — interact with the medical literature and with each other.
For the past three years, the JACR has published a special bonus issue in December. The themes of these issues were Patient- and Family-Centered Care in 2016, Health Services Policy and Research in 2015, and the Imaging IT Reference Guide in 2014. The 2016 and 2015 JACR special issues are free, so you can enjoy them even if you're not an ACR member or JACR subscriber.
2017's end-of-year JACR special issue theme is Social Media in Medicine. The JACR is now soliciting manuscripts for the special issue. Visit the website for author information and for manuscript submission. Everyone at the JACR encourages you to submit your manuscript for what is sure to be another highly-regarded December special issue. The deadline for submission to be considered for publication in the special issue is June 1, 2017.