With readers increasingly choosing to experience journal content in online forms, the accessibility of that content and the maximizing of the functionality and capacity for user interaction have become essential in keeping journals relevant and effective. Patricia Baskin, executive editor of Neurology, began the session with a talk about initiatives to enhance and re-purpose her journals’ content on different platforms to meet readers’ needs better and provide value-added online content. With the Web versions considered the canonical versions of the journals, print is now a derivative, and the Web versions provide supplemental material and videos, rapid online correspondence, continuing-medical-education opportunities, online patient pages (online articles rewritten for patients by editors), online topic collections, and a special section for publications by residents and fellows. Initiatives for other platforms include providing iPad apps for all Neurology journals that include features not available on the Web site or in the print edition, such as additional videos, special issues, audio recordings of the non science Reflections section, podcast buttons, and interactive ads. An optimized Web version of the journals available for smartphones provides quick and easy mobile-ready content. In addition to the content enhancements on those platforms, content is reused regularly in other ways: Podcast interviews of selected articles are broadcast weekly, social-media messages are pushed out several times each day, press releases describe at least two articles from each weekly issue, descriptions of studies affecting physician practices and patients are picked up and derivative descriptions published in the society’s online tabloid magazine and patient magazine, and several local language editions—selected articles targeted to localities and published online in non English languages—are offered. Additional online initiatives are in development.
Lori Erickson, associate editor of Mayo Clinic Proceedings (MCP), began a three part look at MCP’s foray into social media with a talk about how YouTube offered a better platform for video management than what the publisher provided. YouTube provided smoother and faster downloads for users, higher resolution, archived content by topic, and a proprietary-journal YouTube Channel. The Mayo Clinic’s YouTube channel includes a welcoming video from the editor-in-chief and an array of videos 6–8 minutes long. The channel links to the journal sites and has site analytics to track how the videos are performing and how users are engaging with them. The top Mayo Clinic videos in 2013 were all tied to articles that had heavy media attention. About 300 videos were posted in 2013, with 168 subscribers and counting. The videos help to reach consumers and professionals who are interested in a topic, increase media outreach, and provide a strong entry point for newsworthy content.
Bruce Polsky, publishing consultant for MCP, spoke about Twitter and how it has proved useful as an announcement service for newsworthy articles. MCP has been able to capitalize on the Mayo Clinic’s sizable Twitter following (more than 750,000 followers) and bring new readers to the journal. Although Twitter is limited in its 140-character format, the use of hashtags and multiple tweets on a single item ha ve helped to increase awareness of journal content. In 2013, MCP sent 137 tweets; there were 361 retweets and tweets about MCP, 56 tweets were “favorited”, 172 new followers were gained, and there were 589 total interactions. Through the experience with Twitter, MCP learned that although total Twitter activity is just a small fraction of journal circulation, the ratio of interactions to the number of original tweets is growing steadily, and Twitter is valuable as a support for media outreach.
Associate Editor Thomas Gerber closed with a look at MCP’s Facebook initiative to promote multimedia social-networking postings, reader interaction with the journal, viral media, and announcements. The MCP Facebook page has been customized to mirror the look and feel of the print journal and has a timeline going back to the beginning of the journal’s presence on Facebook. Permission settings on Facebook help to restrict how the public responds to the journal postings. Through the experience with Facebook, MCP learned that it takes much time and effort, that there are limits to how much control you have over the site’s use, and that a limited number of people were being driven to journal content through Facebook. Facebook’s proprietary algorithm controls which posts are being shown to whom, and this limits the return on investment of editorial-staff effort on Facebook. There has been substantial growth in the value that Facebook has added to MCP, but it remains to be seen how much value Facebook adds to a journal’s social-media presence in the long term.