Social media in Public health
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Social Media in Public Health
Social media has become a part and parcel of everyday life today. There is practically no person who is not aware of advertisements, news telecasts, radio discussions, television shows and the Internet. Rather they are more influenced by these forms and gain knowledge through social media because they are more engaging and interesting. Public health organizations have resorted to this mechanism to reach out to the people at large and educate them about health issues and necessary measures that should be adopted.
SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL
However, there are certain conditions that make social media a more effective instrument for the enhancement of public health. Some are of the opinion that if traditional communication channels that have been engaged in public health are integrated with present day social media, then the results can be fruitful (Chou et al. 48). The general mass is used to the traditional health communication systems and therefore when they get the various kinds of information about vaccination etc. through new form of media, the outcome is naturally better than before (Lefebvre et al. 68). There is a tendency for every individual to try out something new. Hence, public health organizations need to be more responsible and compact in delivering information via social media to reach their goals.
REACHING OUT TO A LARGER COMMUNITY
One of the most important advantages of utilizing social media for public health information is its outstretched arms. The target audience is diverse. Studies show that most people, who use the Internet, seek advice through the various health sites. While there are others, who are more convinced through print media and some rely on their friends and relatives. The steady increase in the number of social media users, it is easier to connect with a larger audience and share relevant information. Moreover these new social media channels are providing opportunities for the health organizations to share all important information in these new spaces which are within the reach of public and with which they constantly communicate (Korda and Itani 17).
Social media channels are on the one hand effective in communicating with the public and on the other hand it is potential in getting the feedback of the audience without delay. By listening to social media conversations, a lot of information is gathered about the audience especially when there are direct conversations with public through media (Teutsch 289). The intimate relation that is developed through social media between the audience and public health organizations gives them an insight into the necessities of the public in general. Information that is immediately required can be offered through social media channels very fast. This increases the reliability factor of both the departments working together for the betterment of society at large (Chou et al. 12)
Researchers, however, feel that social media should not be used randomly by health organizations. There should be a purpose, necessity and accuracy of what is being served to the public through media. There are indeed many people who are obsessed with all that they see and read online. Hence, all information must be for the benefit of public and problems addressed with sincerity. Social media must not be misused to simply advertise about certain products or health institutes. Importance should be given to the well-being of the people and during a specific season or natural disturbances when health hazards increase, special attention must be given to address those issues.
Chou W.S., Prestin A., Lyons C., Wen K. Web 2.0 health promotion: reviewing the current evidence. Am J Public Health. 2013. Print.
Chou S.W., Hunt Y.M., Beckjord El. B., Moser R. P., Hesse B. W. Social media use in the United States: implications for health communication. J Med Internet Res. (2009): 12-13. Print.
Korda H., Itani Z. Harnessing social media for health promotion and behavior change. Health Promot Pract. (2013): 17-19. Print.
Lefebvre R. C., Bornkessel A. S. Digital social networks and health. Circulation. 2013. Print.
Martin-Moreno J. M., Apfel F., Sanchez J.L.S., Galea G., Zsuzsanna J. The social nature of chronic noncommunicable diseases and how to tackle them though communication technology, training, and outreach. J Health Commun. 2011. Print.
Teutsch S. M., Fielding J.E. Rediscovering the core of public health. Annu Rev Public Health. (2013): 289. Print.
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