To examine changes in Social Media (SoMe) use among urology residency applicants before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
We distributed surveys to individuals who applied to our residency program for application cycles ending in 2018, 2019, and 2021. The surveys included questions about applicants’ SoMe use and perceptions of programs’ SoMe use during the application process, both before (2018/2019) and after (2021) the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary outcome was SoMe use for professional purposes.
We received survey responses from 33% (162/496) and 29% (84/294) of applicants from the 2018/2019 and 2021 cohorts, respectively. There was a significant increase in professional SoMe use in the 2021 cohort (80%) compared with the 2018/2019 cohort (44%) (p<0.001). In 2021 compared to 2018/2019, more applicants used SoMe to connect directly with residents (69% vs 34%, p<0.001) and with faculty members (65% vs 15%, p<0.001). Applicants in 2021 compared to 2018/2019 more often found SoMe to be useful for making decisions about applying to (33% vs 10%), interviewing at (26% vs 7%), and ranking programs (20% vs 9%) (all p<0.05). Twitter was the most common platform for applicants to access program information, increasing from 38% to 71%.
The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a period of unprecedented SoMe usage among urology applicants, who used it to learn about and connect with residency programs in new ways. The use of SoMe by residency programs has become an important component of trainee recruitment and is likely to continue in the future.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.