Social media and impression management: Veterinary medicine students’ and faculty members’ attitudes toward the acceptability of social media posts



Introduction: While social media has the potential to be used to
make professional and personal connections, it can also be used
inappropriately, with detrimental ramifications for the individual
in terms of their professional reputation and even hiring
decisions. 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 Veterinary
Medicine were invited to participate. The sample size included
140 students and 69 faculty members who completed the Social
Media Scale (SMS), a 7-point semantic differential scale. The
SMS consisted of 12 items that measured the extent to which a
variety of behaviors, using social media, constituted acceptable
and unacceptable behaviors. Items appearing on the SMS were
an amalgamation of modified items previously presented by Coe,
Weijs, Muise et al. (2012) and new items generated specifically for
this study. The data were collected during the spring semester of
2015 using Qualtrics online survey software and analyzed using
t-tests and ANOVA.
Results: The results showed that statistically significant differences
existed between the students’ and faculty members’ ratings of
acceptable behavior, as well as gender differences and differences
across class years.
Conclusion: These findings have implications for the development
of policy and educational initiatives around professional identity
management in the social sphere.

Keywords: Social media; Professionalism; Medical education; Medical students; Medical faculty

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 P ISSN: 2322-2220            E ISSN:2322-3561      

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Publisher: Shiraz University of Medical Sciences