Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereThe Social Media Index was moved from BoringEM to ALiEM on the morning of Thursday, November 21st. The increased exposure for my previously obscure little prototype got it a lot of attention. By that afternoon Dr. Scott Weingart (@EMCrit) had weighed in with an audio response critical of the index and requested that EMCrit be removed. This set off a lively discussion on Twitter as a good chunk of the FOAM community got in on this important discussion.

This is why an index for FOAM will help learners, educators, and researchers:

This was partly in response to Dr. Weingart’s audio response:

Two Goals for the Social Media Index

As mentioned in my audio response, the two goals I had for the index were to start a conversation and to measure the impact of FOAM in a way that is useful for FOAM learners, educators, and researchers.

Goal 1: This was met during the Twitter conversation three days ago. If you missed it, Tessa Davis (@TessaRDavis) and Teresa Chan (@TChanMD) did a spectacular job of curating the discussion into some consensus points posted today: Lessons Learned from an Impromptu Twitter Consensus Conference on Blog Design.

Goal 2: Some members of the FOAM community argue that the second goal is either not worthwhile or not being met by the index. While I disagree, I do think there is room for improvement. In particular, I think Dr. Weingart’s criticism of the index for using ordinal variables was spot on. I took that feedback into account and revised the index as outlined today on the Social Media Index page.

I expect that in the coming days the FOAM community will continue to weigh in on this topic and we will come up with a standard way to respond to requests to “opt-out” of the index. We look forward to everyone’s responses as we continue to move FOAM forward.

Brent Thoma, MD MA
ALiEM Associate Editor
Emergency Medicine Research Director at the University of Saskatchewan
Editor/Author at CanadiEM.org
Brent Thoma, MD MA