Fostering interpersonal trust on social media: physicians’ perspectives and experiences

Panahi, Sirous and Watson, Jason and Partridge, Helen (2016) Fostering interpersonal trust on social media: physicians’ perspectives and experiences. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 92 (1084). pp. 70-73. ISSN 0032-5473

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The problem of developing and sustaining mutual trust is one of the main barriers to knowledge sharing on social media platforms such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs and social networking websites. While many studies argue that mutual trust is necessary for online communication and knowledge sharing, few have actually explored and demonstrated how physicians can establish and sustain trusted relationships on social media.


To identify approaches through which physicians establish interpersonal trust on social media.


Twenty-four physicians, who were active users of social media, were interviewed using a semi-structured approach between 2013 and 2014. Snowball sampling was employed for participant recruitment. The data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.


Physicians trust their peers on social media in a slightly different way than in face-to-face communication. The study found that the majority of participants established trust on social media mainly through previous personal interaction, authenticity and relevancy of voice, professional standing, consistency of communication, peer recommendation, and non-anonymous and moderated sites.


Healthcare professionals need to approach social media carefully when using it for knowledge sharing, networking and developing trusted relations with like-minded peers.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2017 01:31
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2017 01:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: social media, trust, physicians
Fields of Research (2008): 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0899 Other Information and Computing Sciences > 089999 Information and Computing Sciences not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4699 Other information and computing sciences > 469999 Other information and computing sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970108 Expanding Knowledge in the Information and Computing Sciences
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