To provide a brief history of Facebook and online social networking and discuss how it has contributed and can contribute in the future to a paradigm change in social communications.
When student pharmacists complete school and enter practice, they encounter enhanced expectations to act appropriately and professionally. Facebook expands the dilemma of separating private and public life—a challenge for individuals in all professions. From the standpoint of a professional association, Facebook provides a tremendous opportunity to reach out to members in an unprecedented way. Pharmacy organizations are beginning to use these new tools to increase communication and dissemination of information.
The popularity of Facebook has brought the issue of online social networking to the forefront of professional and organizational discussions. The issues of privacy, identity protection, and e-professionalism are likely to reappear as pharmacists and student pharmacists continue to communicate via online networks. The potential exists for organizations to harness this organizational and communication power for their own interests. Further study is needed regarding the interaction between online social networking applications and the profession of pharmacy.