“Even before the development of the Internet and social media tools, the association between media promotion and article performance was well documented.1, 2, 3, 4 What was not fully understood, however, was the underlying cause of this association. Editors and journalists tend to promote what they view as the most important and novel papers. As a result, it is difficult to disambiguate selection effects from dissemination and amplification effects, especially from uncontrolled observational studies. Likely, multiple effects operate in concert. If we want to isolate these effects, we need to rely on a more rigorous methodology–the randomized controlled trial….
While there are many studies exploring the relationships among indicators, most are methodologically weak and may suffer from confounding causes and effects. More rigorous trials, summarized above, report little, if any, effect between social media interventions and readership. Nevertheless, whereas social medical campaigns may have limited effect within the research and clinical community, they may provide other ancillary benefits to a journal, such as providing outreach to healthcare professionals, communicating directly with the general public, and increasing brand recognition.20 …”