Where do you turn for the latest research on the impact and influence of social media?
This edition of the Health Care Social Media Review (HCSM) provides the latest research your fellow colleagues are studying by highlighting social media research and related resources. Whether you’re talking with your stakeholders, board, manager, customer, or colleague, being well-versed in the research equips you with the evidence and theory needed to optimize your impact.
I have yet to attend a social media workshop or presentation where someone doesn’t ask about resources relatesd to social media research. (And thank goodness, right? We need to stay curious.) A number of people want research to help them understand the pros and cons of social media and translate how that knowledge applies to their mission. Here’s what our peers had to share this week:
- Pew Internet & American Life Project: This is the main go-to for many, given Pew’s look into at the impact and use of technology across demographics. Did you see their June 5 report sharing that 56% of Americans own a smartphone? Their May 21, 2013 report may also be applicable to you as it focused on teens, social media and how they view privacy.
- DigiHealth Pulse: Enskeptos is newer to the scene but offers insights from their ongoing tracking study of digital health consumers. The study looks at 39 health topics and 11 different health behaviors to help us better understand how active digital health consumers consume, perceive and react to online health information.
- Journal of New Communications Research: The Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) is always a must-watch as they support and fund research. Both Fard Johmar (of Enskeptos) and Craig Lefebvre have participated in SNCR, helping bring health care social media research to bear.
- CDC’s Health Communication Digest: Looking for the latest peer-reviewed literature? CDC offers up its Health Communication Digest, highlighting a findings of note, many of which relate to health care social media.
- PWC, Comscore, eMarketer and Nielsen A number of organizations offer up research and studies that can help further guide our work. For example, many of you may recall PWC’s report, “Social Media ‘Likes’ Health Care”.
- #SMMStandards: If you haven’t bookmarked this group, you’ll want to as the group is working across industries to develop standards in social media measurement .
Laying the Groundwork
This topic for this edition was inspired by some of my own social media research activities. Craig Lefebvre and I recently published a review of the research and evidence for the use of social networking sites (SNS) to improve cardiovascular health in the April 30, 2013 edition of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association. The paper, titled Digital Social Networks and Health, also offers guidance on the potential of creating social health experiences while also proposing a research agenda for better understanding the use of social media in health.
Not shortly thereafter, Damon Centola of MIT published a follow-up article, titled “Social Media and the Science of Health Behavior“, also in Circulation. Centola’s article is a great read for those looking to understand and explore new research areas thanks to the opportunities social media affords. He also shares a case study from the Healthy Lifestyles Network that helps drive home the potential of what can be when you combine the power of social networks with social media–a key theme we share.
Here are some additional research nuggets submitted to the review:
- The Cancer Conversation Grows and Narrows: Greg Matthews shares insights from The MDigitaLife Social Oncology Project 2013, which tracked more than 16 million cancer-related conversations. He shares: “…increasingly, there isn’t just one cancer conversation – there are distinct and recognizable conversations happening now about dozens of different cancer varieties – each with its own participants, preferred channels, media coverage and physician influencers.” Having done some research into the HIV conversation online, I can share that this statement also applies to the evolved HIV discussion online and makes me wonder what other health topics and diseases are becoming more sophisticated and what that means for our work.
- Here’s a Conundrum: Hispanics are some of the greatest users of mobile and social media technologies. And despite all our work in health care social media, over half of Latinos don’t know key aspects of the new health care law. This is our fail. At the same time, it’s a great opportunity for change. Any takers?
- Twitter and Vaccine Information = A Good Mix: According to a new study, Twitter was found to be a popular and reliable source for vaccine information. Of note, researchers found that over the more than 2k tweets analyzed, 54% conveyed a neutral position on vaccinations.
- Is Social Media Helping or Hurting? Researchers in Canada are looking into the impact of social networks and social networking sites on mental health, putting a large focus on Facebook. I’ve written before on conflicting findings regarding Facebook’s impact on our health, so I can’t wait until the findings of this study are released.
- People Want Online Video, but Aren’t Sure How to Get It or Measure Its Impact: Given increasing interest in online video and YouTube’s latest design update, you may be interested in the latest report, “Into Focus: Benchmarks for Nonprofit Video and a Guide for Creators“. This is the first report of its kind and was compiled by See3 and Edelman in collaboration with YouTube’s Nonprofit Assistance Program.
- Text4Baby Works, Still: A new report came out finding that the Text4Baby program is beneficial to women and moms. This may also be one reason why the program has expanded its offerings into video. In reviewing digital health solutions, email and/or text reminders over and over are found to be effective in individual pilots and projects. Hopefully, this added research will support similar types of efforts. Email may not be as “sexy” as social media, but it is effective.
While the body of research grows, some organizations are joining the effort. One such organization is the Human Factors group which is hosting a social meida research competition with a $10,000 prize purse. What about you – do you have any social media research activities planned for 2013?
Thank you again for your contributions to this edition. Health Care Social Media Review has information about the next edition’s host and instructions on how to submit your posts for review in future editions.