Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Social Media Index (SMi)

Academics have created indices to compare both scholars (h-index) and journals (Impact Factor) within a given field. The websites that contribute to the creation of Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) do not have a comparable parameter. This makes assessing the impact of each website challenging for both content producers and their supervisors. Additionally, learners may find it difficult to distinguish between reputable and unproven websites.

The Social Media Index (SMi) was developed to address these problems. It is a comparative index derived from three easily obtainable indicators including:

  1. Alexa Rank (of the website)
  2. Twitter Followers (of the most prominent editor)
  3. Facebook Likes (of the website’s page)

For each website, these 3 indicators are normalized and added together to give a score ranging from 0 to 10. The details of the derivation and validation of the SMi are outlined in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine1 while a study investigating the SMi’s correlation with quality has recently been published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.2

Social Media Index

June 15.Nov 15.June 16.Nov 16.HyperlinkAlexaTwitterFacebookSocial Media Index 
1111Life in the Fast Lane1468618900196569.4
3333Academic Life in EM28842214251201776.62
4544EMS 12 lead1231875172921058756.1
6665Dr Smith ECG9891758674309275.81
131076Emergency Medicine Cases7134673669153435.65
9987REBEL EM8673071047640615.52
161298Intensive Care Network1291531999957535.35
2320129EM Docs561184313018735.33
5151010St. Emlyns14961151156030605.17
15141412Ultrasound Podcast18227001085113414.88
19171613EM Lit of note1662274785012564.84
25221715EM Basic1835898845812924.81
18131515The Poison Review1503948553112684.81
20231817The SGEM2025669558125414.8
22181918EM Updates150226665018244.76
43354119First 10 EM80423418805674.74
NRNR2720Core EM1650934119944074.72
17282021Resus ME2682763127706764.59
26262522Ultrasound of the Week165209834779014.58
32292823Taming the SRU163857827698074.51
28272624ECG Experts88509925802159464.45
21252225Free Emergency Talks6888844711835274.33
NRNR2127Critical Care Practitioner Podcast357402351868024.26
NRNRNR28The Bottom Line320901057294584.22
31313128EM Lyceum3312424119942024.22
42413330Emergencypedia 173924746618044.21
41432331Critical Care Practitioner357402328648024.12
34473432ED Exam544004926229903.94
45333234Everyday Medicine11562515105069203.79
37443736PEM Blog380466910262673.61
72536137EMJ Club408708511172473.58
39484639Rogue Medic1998306459803.45
68627541Western Sono412908111471213.44
7215142Dont Forget the Bubbles24701889254015233.39
116374844Anaesthesiology and Critical Care989175189703.33
33494946PedEM Morsels1409361302703.25
NRNR3948Flight Bridge ED1692697314985683.21
29635251RAGE podcast35238641475103.16
55464252Sinai EM759055710841213.15
49394052EM Curious1078156623301003.15
36596254Broome Docs2304496560503.14
66545755EM Res Podcast2470188930663353.13
35615656KI Docs2590560667703.12
NRNR5557Intensive Blog2041258367503.1
69565958ICU Rounds2470188917864123.04
52386359Tox Talk2470188927702213.02
94827860Resus Review1658024127302.95
54605361Trauma Professionals blog2542088311602.94
NRNR4562Pharmacy Joe3728510604402.92
58424463A life at risk145845304763372.88
51655864The PEMNetwork117297752394322.86
70787065Rolobot Rambles4509593653902.84
1408010266Emergence Phenomena119475332802.8
NRNR7667HEFT EMCast3430246307702.79
40666667EM IM Doc4196964447902.79
NRNR8769Ditch Medics182681919021772.77
85779270Quiz EM1687733013710312.75
NRNRNR71The Bottom Line4219408281002.67
79698371Expensive Care2470188912421032.67
59768274EM Tutorials262010790102.63
871456874EM in 53399340153002.63
38555477Emergency Medicine Ireland7170179570902.6
76577378Sinai EM Media3564944135402.57
46858178Manu et Corde4742391230402.57
NRNR7278RCEM FOAMed Network8179371624602.57
80726982Edwin Leap5358983270002.55
NRNR10185Clinical Monster339514492902.51
1481529786EM Medicine PharmD4569252138202.46
103748686PEM ED7414716333702.46
104899388Flipped EM Classroom5024959119602.38
977510889Emergency Education444296085902.36
86738489Hennepin Ultrasound24701889548582.36
NRNR6791Humanizing Intensive Care12866576547902.34
77649895Wessix Intensive Care Society7843108192302.3
108939696Rural Docs18625392667702.24
90676597The EDE Blog23525911537262.21
64957498The Sono Cave7379067115902.2
11210612998SoBro EM8580129149102.2
RankWebsiteSocial Media IndexAlexa RankTwitter FollowersFacebook Fans
1Life in the Fast Lane9.52397201976428444
2EMCrit 8.161574644503028422
4Dr. Smith's ECG Blog7.532669281447854156
5Rebel EM7.352421501739112636
6Emergency Medicine Cases7.17268840729922049
7EM Docs6.8725652167574922
9EMS 12 lead6.64105263822145107989
10Intensive Care Network6.14810395131867322
11First 10 EM6.143373251591629
12Don't Forget the Bubbles5.9665964448504418
14The Skeptics Guide to EM5.791116546113635353
15St Emlyn's5.791164419183443673
16Emergency Medicine Updates5.531205996108582151
17Emergency Ultrasound Podcast5.531196845143041522
18EM Basic5.421362162115661831
19Critical Care Practitioner Podcast5.35103081652051196
22Taming the SRU5.28101338539351128
23The Poison Review5.18147687169611350
24Ultrasound of the Week5.14150348364401283
25EM Literature of Note5.112209099106582251


As this is still a beta version, we would appreciate your assistance in correcting any errors (Did we miss an Alexa Rank, Twitter Account, or Facebook page? Is our data inaccurate?). Feedback on the SMi can also be provided by commenting on this page or tweeting @Brent_Thoma.

Update: Removal of PageRank

Google deprecated the PageRank metric after our original publication1 in 2013. Because of this, PageRank will no longer be included in future versions of the SMi.

Fortunately, our data in the 2013 WestJEM paper suggests that the Alexa score has a high correlation to PageRank. Because of this, we have elected to double the weight of the Alexa score in the SMi calculation to replace PageRank’s contribution. We have also modified the calculation of the Alexa component of the SMi. This change fixes the lowest ranking websites to a value of 0, which increases the range of values. The effect of this change makes the score more consistent with the other components. The current formula has been shown to correlate with quality.2

The detailed formula is:


Where max = maximum value, min = minimum value, site = value for a particular website.

Thoma B, Sanders J, Lin M, Paterson Q, Steeg J, Chan T. The social media index: measuring the impact of emergency medicine and critical care websites. West J Emerg Med. 2015;16(2):242-249. [PubMed]
Thoma B, Chan T, Kapur P, et al. The Social Media Index as an Indicator of Quality for Emergency Medicine Blogs: A METRIQ Study. Ann Emerg Med. July 2018. [PubMed]
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


I help good people provide exceptional healthcare. Trauma/EM physician and tech-enhanced #MedEd researcher https://t.co/nAiSSZ3zDM https://t.co/7X8DQNzTi6
Brent Thoma, MD MA