Pharmacy students may be a little too transparent with their social media

By | October 27, 2009

transparencyA study in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (Vol: 73, Issue 06, Article: 104) took a look at issues related to Facebook usage, accountability, privacy, online image and e-professionalism among students entering pharmacy school

The study was conducted via a questionnaire consisting of 21 questions administered to 299 incoming pharmacy students. Of the 299 students surveyed, 244 (88%) had an existing Facebook profile. The average daily time spent of Facebook was approximately 22 minutes.

One of the most troubling aspects of college students and Facebook is the apparent disconnect on their opinions of fair use’ of Facebook profiles by others and the reality of their open access nature. With regard to employers, Facebook provides information that resumes, transcripts, and interviews may not provide. While a literature review revealed no research on if/how employers of doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) graduates use online social networking information in hiring decisions, general population studies suggest that 11% of all employers access interviewees’ Facebook profiles during the hiring process.9 Over half (57%) of the pharmacy students in this study with Facebook profiles indicated that it was unfair for employers to use this information, and 36% have posted some type of information that they would not want potential employers to see. These results suggest that many pharmacy students do not have a full understanding of what constitutes private versus public information and/or of the possible ramifications of making private information public. One might not want behaviors and attitudes from private settings to be used in judging professional or career-related abilities; however, once private actions become public, the distinct private life (as has been traditionally defined) ceases to exist. Because of the rapid onset of technologies that have created and popularized online personas, society has yet to adjust to this new paradigm. Philosophically, many of us are now struggling with how to delineate between public and private with regard to personal information freely provided in online settings. Until society is able to grasp the new paradigm, further discussion on online identity protection is warranted.

It’s pretty simple really; don’t put anything online that you don’t want the entire world to see. Yeah, the internet is that big. The creation of the internet, and specifically social media, has created a system that is completely transparent and available to anyone with online access. You can’t hide online.

5 thoughts on “Pharmacy students may be a little too transparent with their social media

  1. Charles

    I’m a pharmacy student with accounts on various social sites and while my answers line up pretty well with the students interviewed I am starting to agree with the conclusion you draw. I tried to look up your email a few days ago so that I could send you an email about this site (boiled down: what mobile/software would you recommend for the pharmD student about to start rotations). With the exception of this website you do a great job of hiding online, and this website is devoid of contact info (no contact or who is data, even CV doesn’t list it). So good job for practicing what you preach. The more I read over your blog the more I like it, I hope you make your one year anniversary with it.

  2. Jerry Fahrni Post author

    Hi Charles – Thanks for the comments, but I’m not really trying to hide. I have accounts on Twitter (@JFahrni) and Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jerry-fahrni/13/9/4a). Feel free to contact me through either of these sites or leave a comment here. I don’t put my email online because of all the spam it generates, but I’d be happy to give it to you via Twitter or Linkedin. In terms of mobile/software, it depends on what you want. Get in touch with me and we can talk more. I work at Kaweah Delta in Visalia, CA (http://www.kaweahdelta.org/). Call the main hospital number and ask for me by name, they’ll get you to the right spot. Good luck with your rotations.

  3. Jeff Cain

    Jerry,

    This is my research article that you wrote about. Thanks for providing it an additional means of distribution.

    I serendipitously discovered your blog through my online reputation monitoring process and have now added it to the blogs I’m following. Nice work.

  4. Jerry Fahrni Post author

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed reading your article as it points to some important issues regarding how students will handle growing up in this new age of social media. I hope to see more pharmacists actively engage in social media; it’s a great way to make contacts and learn new and exciting things.

    Keep up the good work. Talk to you soon.

  5. Ava Connor

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Students in general tend to have that extravagant transparency that is sometimes taken for granted. They couldn’t blame the internet, you know.

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