Hashtag, like or tweet: a qualitative study on the use of social media among dentists in London

Aditi Mondkar*, Sasha Scambler, Jennifer E. Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To explore dentists' perceptions and use of social media generally and in relation to their professional careers, together with its implications for professionalism. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with dentists in their early, mid- and late careers working in a range of settings based in London. Participants were purposively sampled via gatekeeper organisations, supported by snowball sampling. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Eighteen dentists working across a range of career stages and care settings were interviewed. Participants were aware of the risks and benefits of using social media and expressed ways of balancing them. A typology of social media user types in the dental profession emerged from the data, comprising avoiders, secondary users, occasional users, observers, seekers, active and cautious, limited, engaged users and deleters. Participants reported an awareness of the impact of maintaining professionalism when using social media. Conclusion Among the participant population sampled, the risks and benefits of general and professional social media were discussed and, in some cases, these overlapped. The findings suggest that dentists are aware of the risks and benefits and employ techniques to balance risk. There were a range of social media user types that varied by characteristics, use in learning and the influences that change their use. It was evident that social media plays an important role in communication between those dentists engaging with available platforms. This area requires further research into professionalism and social media in dentistry.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


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