Objectives To explore perceptions, barriers and patterns of social media (SM) use among rheumatology fellows and basic scientists.
Methods An online survey was disseminated via Twitter, Facebook and by email to members of the Emerging European League Against Rheumatism Network. Questions focused on general demographics, frequency and types of SM use, reasons and barriers to SM use.
Results Of 233 respondents (47 countries), 72% were aged 30–39 years, 66% female. 83% were active users of at least one SM platform and 71% were using SM professionally. The majority used SM for communicating with friends/colleagues (79%), news updates (76%), entertainment (69%), clinical (50%) and research (48%) updates. Facebook was the dominant platform used (91%). SM was reported to be used for information (81%); for expanding professional networks (76%); new resources (59%); learning new skills (47%) and establishing a professional online presence (46%). 30% of non-SM users justified not using SM due to lack of knowledge.
Conclusions There was a substantial use of SM by rheumatologists and basic scientists for social and professional reasons. The survey highlights a need for providing learning resources and increasing awareness of the use of SM. This could enhance communication, participation and collaborative work, enabling its more widespread use in a professional manner.
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Handling editor Tore K Kvien
Contributors EN, PS and CGA contributed to the design, questionnaire construction, data analyses, reviewing and interpreting of the data and manuscript writing. MC, MJ, CO and FB contributed to the review, interpretation of the data, writing and editing the manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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