Social Media and Dentistry
Keywords:Social media; SoMe for education; SoMe as marketing tool; ethics and SoMe; knowledge shared timeously
Numerous social media platforms are accessible to healthcare professionals and to patients. The aim of this study was to determine the role of social media platforms in the academic life of undergraduate and postgraduate dental students, and general dentists and
specialists working in an academic setting. A cross-sectional survey was conducted targeting 4th and 5th year dentistry students, postgraduate clinical assistants, qualified dentists, and specialists working at an Oral Health Centre. The survey questions focused
on the role of social media sites in the academic setting, and how these can be used to interact on a professional basis in sharing knowledge efficiently and for teaching, as a marketing tool and the ethics related to its use. Most participants appreciated the use of social media to share and receive information for educational purposes. They indicated that online communication increases the spread of information and knowledge efficiently and timeously. They also specified taking advantage of this efficient spread amongst the population as a marketing tool to gain patients. Though there are some individuals who do not quite agree and have suspicions
for ethical or personal reasons, and they explained this by indicating that once something is posted online it cannot be removed.
The study concluded that the use of social media in dentistry has positive and negative aspects, thus the hesitancy to use it and suspicions expressed by participants. Information placed online should be closely monitored even after having received permission to do so.
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