1 Communication, Department of Clinical Sciences, NC State University, Raleigh, USA

2 Educational Assessment and Outcomes, Department of Clinical Sciences, NC State University, Raleigh, USA

3 Academic Affairs, Department of Clinical Sciences, NC State University, Raleigh, USA


Introduction: While social media has the potential to be used tomake professional and personal connections, it can also be usedinappropriately, with detrimental ramifications for the individualin terms of their professional reputation and even hiringdecisions. This research explored students’ and faculty members’perceptions of the acceptability of various social media postings.Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2015.All students and faculty members at the College of VeterinaryMedicine were invited to participate. The sample size included140 students and 69 faculty members who completed the SocialMedia Scale (SMS), a 7-point semantic differential scale. TheSMS consisted of 12 items that measured the extent to which avariety of behaviors, using social media, constituted acceptableand unacceptable behaviors. Items appearing on the SMS werean amalgamation of modified items previously presented by Coe,Weijs, Muise et al. (2012) and new items generated specifically forthis study. The data were collected during the spring semester of2015 using Qualtrics online survey software and analyzed usingt-tests and ANOVA.Results: The results showed that statistically significant differencesexisted between the students’ and faculty members’ ratings ofacceptable behavior, as well as gender differences and differencesacross class years.Conclusion: These findings have implications for the developmentof policy and educational initiatives around professional identitymanagement in the social sphere.Keywords: Social media; Professionalism; Medical education; Medical students; Medical faculty