Currently, there has been limited research on evaluating the social media use and
competency level of registered dietitian
utritionists (RD/N). With health information increasingly sought on social media, it is imperative to understand the social media competency of health professionals. The social media use, reach, and competency level of a nationwide RD/N sample was assessed utilizing an online survey. The sample (n=500) while mostly female (97%) was representative of RD/Ns compared to the nationwide statistics from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. The sample included RD/Ns from forty-six states with California (n=44), New York (n=42), and Texas (n=34) having the largest proportion of respondents. The majority of RD/Ns engage in social media for personal use (92.4%) and 39.2% engage for professional use. One hundred and twenty-five RD/Ns reported 777 ± 1063 (mean ± SD) social media followers. As compared to non-millennial RD/Ns, millennial RD/Ns engaged significantly more in social media for personal and professional use (+10% and +13.5% respectively, p<0.001) and scored significantly higher for social media competency (p<0.001). Additionally, food and nutrition management and consultant/private practice/industry RD/Ns had significantly higher competency scores than clinical RD/Ns (p=0.015 and p=0.046, respectively). RD/Ns who use social media personally and professionally had a significantly higher competency score than RD/Ns who did not (p<0.001). There were significant associations of Facebook, Twitter, total followers and total average followers with the social media competency score (r=0.265, 0.404, 0.338, & 0.320, respectively) in RD/Ns. Specifically, the social media competency score, was found to explain 16% of the variation in the number of Twitter followers and 10% of the variation in the average number of followers by platform. These data suggest an opportunity to increase RD/Ns’ social media reach (i.e. following) by improving competency level.