Wrapping up 2013 has given me a great opportunity to reflect on what I have been writing about over the past year. Looking back over 35+ posts, here are the trends that caught my eye:
1. Social Media & Public Health: The intersection of these two topics continues to intrigue us in the public health field and the application of social media is being explored in everything from preparedness to health education.
Pop Health Favorites From 2013:
- Facebook Is Revolutionizing The Search For An Organ Donor, But Is It Fair? (September 27, 2013)
- #RoyalBaby Offers Public Health A Unique Opportunity To Advocate For Maternal & Child Health (July 23, 2013)
- Instagram It! Using Instagram For Public Health (June 26, 2013)
- How And Why Should We "Pin" Public Health? (June 18, 2013)
- Emergency Response To The Boston Marathon Bombings: Looking To Social Media For Information, Resources, and Connections (April 16, 2013)
- Using Twitter To Track Disease: Weighing The Advantages and Challenges (March 5, 2013)
- Downton Abbey: A Mountain Of Viewer Tears Leads To An Incredible Online Discussion About Maternal Health (January 29, 2013)
2. Celebrities & Public Health: This is not a new topic by any means. For decades, celebrities have been health advocates and/or the topic of discussion for a number of public health issues. However, I highlight it as a trend in 2013 for two reasons. (1) With the help of social media, celebrities are weighing in constantly on health issues and current events in real time. These opinions can come quickly and casually through Twitter or Facebook...they no longer speak exclusively through publicists and press releases. (2) Public health is putting an emphasis on evaluating the impact of celebrities on health issues. *I hope we see more of this in 2014!!
Pop Health Favorites From 2013:
- Research Notes: The Angelina Effect (December 23, 2013)
- Celebrities Aim To Silence The Sounds Of Pertussis (November 1, 2013)
- Let's Give Paris Jackson Some Privacy And Revisit Safe Reporting On Suicide (And Attempts!) (June 5, 2013)
- Angelina's "Medical Choice" Dominates The Internet (May 14, 2013)
3. Crowdsourcing & Public Health: While I haven't written about it as much as I would like, I have been fascinated by the creative use of crowdsourcing in 2013 that has helped advance public health dialogue. [For those not familiar with the term, "crowdsourcing" is the act of obtaining ideas, content, etc. by soliciting contributions from a large group of people- like Twitter users!] Specifically I'd like to acknowledge Slate for utilizing this strategy in the #NotDeadYet story I link to below and more recently in their analysis of gun death data. I think we in public health can learn a lot from the crowdsourcing strategies that Slate has used to engage readers.
Pop Health Favorite From 2013:
- #NotDeadYet: Slate Sparks An Awesome Online Discussion Of Life, Medicine, and Public Health (September 12, 2013)
2014: I anticipate that each of these three topics will continue to grow and appear in many Pop Health posts in 2014. I hope that we see more and more evaluation studies of social media/celebrities/crowdsourcing and their impact on public health initiatives. I hope these studies are widely disseminated and made accessible to many of us- even if we lack comprehensive access to peer reviewed journals. If you see such studies, pass them along! I am hoping to expand my "Research Notes" posts in the upcoming year and would love to highlight such studies on the blog.
What Do You Think?
- What other 2013 trends in health communication/social media/public health did you see in your work?
- What new/expanding trends do you anticipate in 2014?