Introduction: Growing evidence supports the use of social media in medical education. One benefit is individual customization of the learning environment. Few investigators, however, have examined the stylistic characteristics of Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAMed) resources.

Objective: We investigated the ideal reading level of FOAMed blog posts.

Methods: We collected posts from the BoringEM.org blog, a multiauthor, peer-reviewed emergency medicine FOAMed blog. Posts are created by students, residents, and physicians; the resulting text varies in literary ease. We used Wordpress Page to extract the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), a measure of literary difficulty. We used Google Analytics to track page views, unique page views, and cities reached, as markers of dissemination.

Results: We included 6 months of blog posts (58 articles) in our final analysis. Pearson correlation showed no association between FRES and number of page views (r = 0.138, P = .31), unique page views (r = 0.143, P = .29), or number of cities reached (r = −0.002, P = .99). There was a moderate correlation between word count and number of page views (r = 0.38, P < .001) and word count and cities reached (r = 0.36, P < .001).

Conclusions: We were not able to identify an optimal reading level for FOAMed posts, as FRES were not correlated with markers of dissemination. This may be due to the high reading level of medical practitioners. Ultimately, subgroup analyses examining the characteristics of our readership may shed light on the literary characteristics that appeal to these groups.

Author notes

Editor's Note: The following are the Top 5 Resident Papers selected by the JGME and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for the 2015 International Conference on Residency Education (ICRE) meeting in Vancouver, Canada. A full listing of submitted abstracts appears on the JGME website (www.jgme.org). Underlined author names indicate presenting author at the conference.