Case Study

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Health On Digital Media
TJ Jerome Dela Cruz
Professor Robert Zornes
CMST 301 Project # 1 Case Study
University Of Maryland University College
November 11, 2012

HEALTH ON DIGITAL MEDIA
In the last several years, the use of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media tools to disseminate health messages has grown significantly, and continues to trend upward. Using social media tools has become an effective way to expand reach, foster engagement and increase access to credible, science-based health messages. Social media and other emerging communication technologies can connect millions of voices to: * Increase the timely dissemination and potential impact of health and safety information. * Leverage audience networks to facilitate information sharing. * Expand reach to include broader, more diverse audiences. * Personalize and reinforce health messages that can be more easily tailored or targeted to particular 
audiences. * Facilitate interactive communication, connection and public engagement. * Empower people to make safer and healthier decisions. 
Integrating social media into health 0 communication campaigns and activities allows health communicators to leverage social 1 dynamics and networks to encourage participation, conversation and community – all of which 2 can help spread key messages and influence health decision making. Social media also helps to 3 reach people when, where and how they want to receive health messages; it improves the 4 availability of content and may influence satisfaction and trust in the health messages 5 delivered. Likewise, tapping into personal networks and presenting information in multiple 6 formats, spaces, and sources helps to make messages more credible and effective. 
Over the 7 years, the internet has changes people’s relationships. Although doctors, nurses and other 8 health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, 9 online sources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in 10 the US. The social life of health information is dynamic. Two forces are driving online health 11 conversations: 1) the availability of social media tools and 2) the increased desire and activity, 12 especially among people living with chronic conditions, to connect with each other. There are a variety of social media tools that can be utilized as part of an integrated health communications program. Tools range from easily downloadable products, such as buttons and badges, that can be implemented with minimal resources, to engagement tools that foster two-way communication and ongoing interaction, such as social network sites. Generally, as you progress from dissemination to engagement, more resources are needed for set-up and maintenance and the potential exists for greater participation, learning and sharing. It was recommended giving careful consideration to the amount of resources and expertise required before deciding on the tools you may want to use. It is often beneficial to start with social media projects that may be considered low risk or use fewer resources at the outset, and then adopt more engaging tools that may require additional resources, expertise and leadership support. The table below documents specific social media tools, showing the continuum from dissemination to engagement, as well as the resources generally needed to implement health communications activities in many popular channels. The Social Media Tools section of this toolkit provides an overview of the tools and how they may help meet health communication objectives.

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A social media communication strategy is only one part of a larger communication...
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