Going Mobile

5 05 2011

We’re going mobile with our health info.  We’ll keep the websites and social media accounts we currently have, but once we find the funding (a daily mutterance in nonprofit offices worldwide), we’ll add access and tools for mobile users.

Researchers at the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California Healthcare Foundation  studied mobile technology and found that 85% of American adults use a cell phone, with 17% of them having used their phones to look up health/medical info.  That figure goes up to 29% when we’re talking specifically about younger adults ages 18-29.

We want to stay connected to our audiences and make it easy for people to retrieve the information they need when they need it.  We believe that, just as the use of social media is embedded in the habits of Americans under the age of 30, so will be the use of mobile technology within a few years.  That’s where Americans are headed.  That’s where the world is headed.

A paragraph in the Mobile Health 2010 report reminds us of how social media usage was once talked about, as whispers of a changing reality, and now that reality is here.

“The ‘mobile difference,’ which Pew Internet first identified in 2009, is the observation that once someone has a wireless device, that person is more likely to use the internet to gather information, share information and create new content. These patterns are beginning to emerge in Americans’ pursuit of health information on mobile devices as well as traditional wired computers.”

These patterns will soon be the norm.  Where do you see your public health education dollars being spent over the next five years?

Photo credit: juhansonin





Researching Health Information on Twitter: Tip#1 – Hash It!

19 05 2009

Twitter_Logo

Social media has made the spread of information lightening fast.

One of the most interactive and helpful social media Websites is Twitter, a microblogging service that lets you make frequent 140 character updates.

As an avid Tweeter myself, I have found quite the handful of useful tools to navigate the Twitterspace. Some of these tools can be used to stay abreast of pertinent health information.

Tip #1 is the hashtag (#). The hashtag lets someone follow a conversation or relate his or her tweet (a.k.a. message) to a topic.

Take a look at one of  PKIDs’ tweets:

Twitter_Post_PKIDs_profile

In the post, there are multiple hashtags (#cellphones, #germ, #health) that, when typed into Twitter’s search box, will allow you to follow the current trends on that subject.

View what the search box looks like below. It’s also featured on the bottom right side of your Twitter profile page (or look at http://twitter.com/pkids).

Twitter_Search_pkids_profile

The search function also shows recent hot topics and allows you to search for topics you’re interested, i.e. #health for health information.

So, why use the hashtag?

Not every hashtag has a conversation attached, but the # attached to a word allows Twitter users to tag relevant posts so others can find them, even if you aren’t following their posts on Twitter. Hashtags before a specific word, like #health, also help exclude irrelevant posts like “I am a health freak,” which wouldn’t teach you much.

Here are a few good hashtag choices for health info:
#health
#wellness
#medicine
#medical

If you want more specific health information use the specific disease or virus name, like #hepatitis or #H1N1.

There are also Twitter-independent tools you can use to follow health information on Twitter, without getting a Twitter account. TweetDeck and Search.Twitter.com are two that are easy and free to use.

And remember, as with all information on the Web, not all of it is credible. Consult your doctor before acting on any health advice from a third party.

Stay tuned next week for another tip on social media and your health.