To tweet or not to tweet? A primer on social media for pharmacists

  • Dixon D
  • Reed B
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Social media has evolved considerably since its humble beginnings in the late 1990s. Today, three billion individuals worldwide use social media. While its traditional use has been to connect with family and friends, social media has also been integrated into many other areas of society, including health care. Today, many health care professionals, including pharmacists, use social media for developing their own personal brand, professional networking, professional development, scholarly activity, pharmacy education, and even patient care. Despite the benefits of actively engaging with social media, the available evidence would suggest that pharmacists' engagement with social media for professional use has been limited. This is likely due to several well-publicized criticisms of social media, including the potential for users to segregate themselves into echo chambers of only like-minded individuals, inability to confirm the accuracy of shared information, its potential as a distractor from other tasks and responsibilities, and personal and patient privacy concerns. Fortunately, most of these concerns can be minimized if pharmacists develop a strategy for social media engagement that is intentional and consistent with their personal goals. Pharmacists should consider becoming not only passive "lurkers" on social media but also creating original content that shares knowledge and encourages conversations with others. We propose that pharmacists use a design-based approach to ensure their use of social media is effective and sustainable. The "ABCDE" approach includes analyzing one's goals and audience, brainstorming ideas for how best to use social media, creating content that is relevant, practical, and useful, disseminating content efficiently and effectively, and periodically evaluating how well one's goals are being met and identifying opportunities for improvement.Copyright © 2019 Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.




Dixon, D. L., & Reed, B. N. (2019). To tweet or not to tweet? A primer on social media for pharmacists. Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, 2(5), 554–562.

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