The oldest continuously published medical journal in the world has followed its readers onto a social networking site.
The New England Journal of Medicine, founded in Boston in 1812, is testing three new applications on Facebook. At its new site, users can click on recent articles, popular articles, and a weekly podcast summary that can be played directly on Facebook.
"If our users are going to be there, we should be there," Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development for the Waltham-based journal said in an interview.
The journal, which has been online for 13 years, has been experimenting with new ways to engage its readers. In the late '90s it introduced an image quiz. More recently it has created case vignettes on which specialists would offer opinions and readers were invited to vote and comment on the clinical decisions. Last year doctors were asked if they would change their practice based on the JUPITER trial, for example, a large study of statins.
"We've been paying attention to all the different interactions we can have with users," Anderson said.
Before going on Facebook, the journal asked readers if they were using the site. The journal Science is there, with podcasts and news. The Journal of the American Medical Association also has a page.
New England Journal readers said they were there, too.
"We just try to be where people are," Anderson said.
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