Social media channels are designed to be engaging; however, these media are often used by public health organizations and practitioners as a means to disseminate mass information, rather than to engage audiences in meaningful interaction. Harnessing social media to best achieve public health outcomes is a topic of much discussion and study in the public health community.
For this assignment, you will analyze public health communication via social media in your community. Follow a public health organization, local or national, on a social media channel (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) for at least 3 weeks. In a paper of 1,000-1,250 words, address the following:
- Describe the benefits/advantages and challenges/risks of using social media for public health communication.
- Describe the organization you followed and the social media channel you selected. What kind of information is shared on social media by the organization?
- To what degree does the organization engage with users/followers (e.g., responding to questions, engaging in conversation, hosting “chats” with experts, soliciting information)?
- What improvements or suggestions would you make to this organization regarding its social media engagement? Why?
Use at least three scholarly sources to support your paper.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Please refer to the directions in the Student Success Center.
Expert Solution Preview
Introduction: In recent times, social media platforms have been explored by public health organizations and practitioners for disseminating information to the masses. This assignment aims to analyze public health communication via social media in a community by following a public health organization for at least three weeks.
1. Benefits/Advantages and Challenges/Risks of using social media for public health communication:
Social media channels provide a cost-effective and efficient way of delivering information to the masses. They allow for communication and engagement with a wide and diverse audience. However, one of the significant challenges is the inability to control the spread of misinformation. As the information is shared and reshared, it may become amplified and may result in panic or confusion among the public. Additionally, social media may not be accessible to everyone, particularly those with limited digital literacy or poor internet connectivity.
2. Organization and Selected Social Media Channel:
The organization selected for analysis is the World Health Organization (WHO), and the social media channel selected is Twitter. The organization shares a range of information related to public health, including updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, prevention and treatment of various diseases, and public health guidelines.
3. Degree of engagement with users/followers:
The WHO engages with its followers by responding to questions, engaging in conversation, and hosting live chats with experts. They also solicit information and feedback from their followers, which helps in developing tailored public health messages for different groups.
4. Improvements or suggestions for social media engagement:
While the WHO’s social media engagement is commendable, there’s always room for improvement. One suggestion would be to use social media influencers to target younger audiences who are more likely to engage with social media. Additionally, providing more interactive features such as quizzes or polls can also increase engagement. Finally, the WHO should consider developing content in multiple languages to ensure accessibility to non-English speakers.
In conclusion, social media is an essential tool for disseminating public health information. It not only helps in reaching a larger audience but also creates opportunities for engagement and feedback. However, it is essential to address the challenges and risks associated with social media communication to ensure that the information shared is accurate and accessible to everyone.