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J Vet Med Educ. 2011 Winter;38(4):353-9. doi: 10.3138/jvme.38.4.353.

Teaching veterinary professionalism in the Face(book) of change.

Author information

1
Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, ON, Canada. jcoe@ovc.uoguelph.ca

Abstract

Facebook has been identified as the preferred social networking site among postsecondary students. Repeated findings in the social networking literature have suggested that postsecondary students practice high personal self-disclosure on Facebook and tend not to use privacy settings that would limit public access. This study identified and reviewed Facebook profiles for 805 veterinarians-in-training enrolled at four veterinary colleges across Canada. Of these, 265 (32.9%) were categorized as having low exposure, 286 (35.5%) were categorized as having medium exposure, and 254 (31.6%) were categorized as having high exposure of information. Content analysis on a sub-sample (n=80) of the high-exposure profiles revealed publicly available unprofessional content, including indications of substance use and abuse, obscene comments, and breaches of client confidentiality. Regression analysis revealed that an increasing number of years to graduation and having a publicly visible wall were both positively associated with having a high-exposure profile. Given the rapid uptake of social media in recent years, veterinary educators should be aware of and begin to educate students on the associated risks and repercussions of blurring one's private life and one's emerging professional identity through personal online disclosures.

PMID:
22130411
DOI:
10.3138/jvme.38.4.353
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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