Use of Social Media by Dental Educators. Arnett, M, Loewen J, Romito L. J Dent Educ 2013;77(11):1400-1410. ( 11/2013 )
Abstract: Social networking applications have become an established means of communication; applications that did not exist ten years ago are now used daily. Social media can be used for a myriad of reasons including instructional tools to supplement learning. This project was designed to assess the usage of social media applications by dental school faculty members and identify the types of accounts they prefer. Four hundred forty-three full-time dental and dental hygiene faculty members from five U.S. dental schools were invited to complete a twelve-item online survey regarding their social media usage. The response rate was 50% (n=221). Of the respondents, nearly half were dentists, and 62% were ≥51 years of age. Facebook was the most popular social network, reportedly used by 111 respondents. The most often reported frequency of use was weekly (20.4 percent, n=221); users indicated utilizing a network primarily for personal rather than professional purposes. However, 37 percent of
the respondents reported not using any social media. The most frequently cited barriers to the use of social media were time (48 percent) and privacy concerns (48 percent). Although few would dispute the influence social media has on today’s students, the suitability and appropriateness of social media technology and its integration into dental curricula require further evaluation.