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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:

Rich Resources

  • 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.

Diving In

Here are some additional research nuggets submitted to the review:

Coming Soon

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.