A Skeptic’s take on Social Media for Health


I had never really considered Social Media as a source for health information.  To be honest, even after this week of exploring and asking around, I am still skeptical.  Just like with any source of information, you have to do your homework to decide if the source is giving truthful, accurate, and sound advice.  The question with social media for me is how to go about doing that.  I have some ways that work for me for other information sources, but I don’t know yet if they’ll work for social media.  Like one of my classmates said in their post:  social media isn’t going away, so it’s up to me to learn how to engage it.

BUT, social media is a way to engage or motivate people to live healthier lives or, if used with good discretion, as a way to remain informed about recent data releases.  These are two new aspects of social media as it relates to health that I’d never considered until this week’s exploration.

Just like any tool, social media has its place.  The trick is giving it a try and figuring out for yourself where that place is for you.


8 thoughts on “A Skeptic’s take on Social Media for Health

  1. I agree with you completely, Renee! My husband is an internet “native,” but he is sooo skeptical about the sensationalism of health information distributed via social media because erroneous or misleading information is just as prolific as validated information!

  2. Renee; I share your feelings about the usefulness and permanence of the medium but I am feeling less of a curmudgeon than I did a few weeks ago. Although I think a PH leader should have an awareness and working knowledge of these tools it must not necessarily be a part of their regular tool set. The Social Media Director is a new position in many non-profits.

  3. I agree with you 100%. Credibility is a huge issue for social media. I think it will take a long time for people to figure out what is good and what is rubbish.

    • Thanks to both Randall and Morris. After this week’s exploration into a few social media sites, I am sort of looking forward to learning about Tweeter….uh… Twitter. What??

      : )

      Your encouragement helps a ton.

      An ever-evolving curmudgeon…


  4. Renee, Well said!! Social media Director positions are all over career postings. Our university is big on this. We have a very active social media department. My guess is, it is producing expected outcomes for the employers.

  5. I agree with you Renee. I had not thought of social media as a source of health information previously either. But now my opinion is changing. However, I think it’s more of the way you want to use social media. It may be used for fun and entertainment, as I had been using Facebook for the last few years or it can be used as an information resource….. like I have started looking at it over these couple of weeks. Having said that, I still am skeptical about the authenticity of all the information available out there!

  6. Totally agree – didn’t realize the extent that social media could be used in public health before this class. But I think it can be a great tool, providing that the public is careful about the source of the information. Which is why I think it is great that big, reputable groups have twitter pages, Facebook pages, etc and are disseminating good information – just hope other people aren’t like I was and totally oblivious to the existence of these pages!

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