FS: Social media: a force for good or evil in medical education?
Date & Time
Thursday, June 17, 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

The explosion of Social Media (SoMe) has infiltrated all aspects of modern international society. The scale of the phenomenon can be daunting to conceptualise, with over 3.81 billion worldwide active users and an average of seven accounts per user. Facebook, the most popular platform, boasts over a billion more users than the population of China, the world’s most populous country. This technology has become ubiquitous within medical education delivery, with diverse roles across professionalism, blended learning, well-being and mentoring. The application of SoMe to medical education has been justified by a wide range of educational theories, such as communities of practice and connectivism. However, as popularity rises and new platforms begin to emerge, questions have been raised regarding the efficacy of SoMe educational methodologies, in addition to concerns highlighting risks related to trends and physical and mental health. This session will encourage critical discussion regarding the place of SoMe within our educational communities, building upon a wealth of literature to challenge attendees regarding their own practice and to highlight examples of excellence.

Session Objectives: This session will pose the following questions:

  • How should educators react to the rise in popularity of social media within medical education?
  • How applicable are the theoretical underpinnings of SoMe to modern medical education and how robust is the evidence base?
  • What are the potential risks or dangers regarding the integration of social media within medical education?
  • What are the most effective means of delivering social media education in undergraduate and postgraduate spheres and what are the implications for faculty development?

This session is not intended to be a basic introduction to social media in medical education, it aims to provide higher level critical analysis of this complex phenomenon within education. We cannot promise answers to all of these questions, but we hope to tackle the issues head on!

Eliot Rees