Objectives: This study examined social media use by pharmacy faculty members and their strategies for Facebook friending of students. Additional objectives included determining faculty members' opinions regarding e-professionalism, how they responded to e-professionalism transgressions, and their use of social media for teaching, learning, and professional interests. Methods: A 32-item questionnaire was sent to 358 pharmacy faculty members at five schools via a web-based survey tool. Results: One hundred and fifty-nine faculty members completed the questionnaire for a 44.4% response rate. Almost 65% (N=103) of the respondents use Facebook. The most common (37.6%, N=38) Facebook-friending philosophy was not to accept any student friend requests. Half (N=27) of the faculty members who have viewed student profiles noticed an e-professionalism transgression. Fifty-nine (50.1%) faculty members responded that they were either likely or very likely to use social media for teaching. A little less than half (46.6%, N=54) of the respondents reported using social media for professional networking purposes. Conclusions: A majority of pharmacy faculty members have an online social media presence, with Facebook being the most common application. Strategies for Facebook-friending students varied, but in general they were very conservative. The majority does not accept any Facebook friend requests from students, or accepts them only when students have graduated. Most faculty members agreed that social media connections with students might compromise the instructor-student relationship boundary. It is important that higher education faculty adapt to the paradigm and examine the appropriate contexts of use for professional, educational, and networking purposes.
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- Social media
- Web 2.0