#42 – Will being active on social media get you a professorship?

Dr. Linda Snell, portrait.
Episode host: Linda Snell.
(Photo E. Cronberg)

Episode article

Fitzgerald, J. J., Losee, J. E., Roth, R. N., Pettigrew, C., & Thamman, R. (2023). A Worksheet to Quantify Social and Digital Media Content as Scholarly Products for Academic Promotion. Academic Medicine, 10.1097

Enjoy listening to us at your preferred podcast player.

Apple    Google    Spotify    Spreaker 

Episode notes 


Social and digital media (SADM) contributions ‘should be considered significant and meritorious’ for academic advancement. The advantages of SADM include: efficiency of dissemination of scientific information; a complementary role to published work; increasing impact, readership or citations; a timely way of adding to academic discourse; a record (online footprint) of public contributions; and opportunities for scholastic leadership. Those using SADM to share expertise should be able to report impact or outcomes, that could be used as part of a promotions ‘package’. 

The authors created a worksheet for including SADM contributions in an institutional promotion package, including a rubric for evaluating the contributions. 

Objective: To present a worksheet for including social and digital media contributions in academic promotion packages, based on expert consensus and existing literature.


A diverse group of 6 academics from one school included varied specialties, training, academic ranks, the chair of the faculty promotions committee, dean of faculty affairs, associate dean of DEI, and clinical and research faculty members with expertise in SADM use. They reviewed literature on scholarship (including Glassick), quantification of SADM impact, examples of existing guidelines, and promotions practices.  

The concept of PESP – Publication Equivalent Scholarly Product (e.g., practice guidelines, web-based curricula, peer-reviewed published abstracts), reflect the effort and impact of an indexed publication and can be counted toward the publication requirements for promotion. The authors applied Glassick’s criteria for SADMs to be considered a PESP. 

Using a modified Delphi method, they developed and piloted a worksheet for faculty to demonstrate SADM contributions, and for committees to evaluate the quality of these contributions. 


The final worksheet had 4 sections:

  1. Scholarship Philosophy 
  1. Reputation, Influence, and Leadership 
  1. Digital Content 
  1. Media Appearances, Quotes, and Other.  

The faculty member had to demonstrate ‘a well-considered SADM presence in alignment with the university’s guidelines and values and their own career development plan.’ The authors, by consensus, developed criteria for ‘weight’ of reputation and influence using a ‘Healthcare Social Graph Score’, as well as criteria and minima for individual pieces, e.g. # of views, length of clips and variations for contexts. These criteria informed the ‘scoring’ of the worksheet. They describe how the worksheet could be adapted to changing contexts and other institutions.


Tried the worksheet – need some training to be able to complete it well, and to evaluate the contributions. 


Lin, M., Thoma, B., Trueger, N. S., Ankel, F., Sherbino, J., & Chan, T. (2015). Quality indicators for blogs and podcasts used in medical education: Modified Delphi consensus recommendations by an international cohort of health professions educators. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 91(1080), 546–550.


Related posts