"Friending Facebook?" A minicourse on the use of social media by health professionals.
ABSTRACT Health professionals are working in an era of social technologies that empower users to generate content in real time. This article describes a 3-part continuing education minicourse called "Friending Facebook?" undertaken at Penn State Hershey Medical Center that aimed to model the functionality of current technologies in health care and encourage discussion about how health professionals might responsibly utilize social media.
Fifteen health professionals participated in the course and provided written evaluation at its conclusion. The course instructor took field notes during each of the 3 classes to document emergent themes.
The course received uniformly positive evaluations, and participants identified several current tools perceived as being potentially useful in their professional lives, including news aggregators, Google Alerts, and--if used responsibly--social networking sites such as Facebook.
Developing innovative and appropriate programming that teaches to emerging social media technologies and ideologies will be crucial to helping the health professions adapt to a new, networked era. Medical institutions would do well to foster interprofessional-and perhaps even intergenerational-conversations to share not only the dangers and risks of social media, but also the opportunities that are emerging out of a rapidly evolving online world.