Rural Emergency Medicine

A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to
catch it from others. Be a carrier. Tom Stoppard

In light of a number of prominent activist campaigns that utilized social media recently (#ArabSpring, #Destroythejoint, #interncrisis), on Sunday 18th November we will be taking a look at Social Media for Healthcare Activism.

As usual in the lead up to my HCSMANZ chats, I like to provide some background reading material to get you thinking. Importantly, I want you to start thinking about what is health activism?

We will be kicking off the chat this week at 8:20pm AEST (i.e. Queensland Time)/ 9:20pm ADST (daylight saving time - if unsure check the time and date link below) to allow for some introductions, basic rules of the chat, and to go over how to get the most out of it.

For our global friends the time and date of the chat is available here; Time&

To find out more or to keep in touch follow @HCSMANZ on twitter and join our Facebook page.

Internet Activism
Internet activism (also known as digital campaigning, digital activism, online organizing, electronic advocacy, cyberactivism, e-campaigning and e-activism) is the use of electronic communication technologies such as social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, YouTube, e-mail, and podcasts for various forms of activism to enable faster communications by citizen movements and the delivery of local information to a large audience. Internet technologies are used for cause-related fundraising, community building, lobbying, and organizing. Wikipedia 2012

A Brief History of Some Online Activism provided by Mashable's Meghan Peters.
How times have changed?
Little over a decade most communicators and activists were just talking about ways to engage the main stream media, often in isolation. Activism, required time, effort, street marches, writing letters to garner the attention of the main stream media and those leaders who can implement the change we desire.

With the rise of social media, and the democratisation of broadcasting thoughts to the masses, we’ve seen an increased ability for people to make their agendas clear to the world. This has been the first step and providing a voice to all. It still comes with the similar traditional challenge of being drowned out by larger and more influential groups and individuals. However, now chance is there that your concern or issue will be shared by others, and perhaps progress into a cause.

This is one of the greatest assets of Social Media; it empowers individuals, but more importantly fosters communities. It facilitates cooperation, collaboration, learning between geographically separate individuals to create in a sense a ‘virtual community’. The glue that holds these ‘virtual communities together are common goals/interests, participation, interdependence, reciprocation, and mutual trust and respect.

In my opinion, the health activism of today stills requires, the time, the effort, writing letters and traditional means of activism. Social media activism is not a substitute for this. Rather Social Media is an adjuvant. The most important role it plays is to allow the creation of communities, so that the next step can be taken as a collective group.

Social Media Communities
When thinking about communities, it important recognize what communities exist, what are they suitable for, and how they large are they. In the world of activism social media services are the tools or meeting grounds that allow you to bring these individual's together.

Further Resources
In two prior HCSMANZ chats we took a look at Digital Strategies for Healthcare Organisations and Integrating Social Media into Public Health. Both of these chats highlight a number of issues relevant to; starting and maintaining a health movement on Social Media.
Four Ways Social Media Is Redefining Activism
If sustainable activism requires passion and commitment, then it makes more sense that social media will facilitate rather than decrease advocacy by connecting more of those who do have passion. There are multiple paths to promoting social change: increasing awareness, providing support, and taking action. All are necessary.

  1. Changing public awareness, 
  2. Word of mouth persuasion, 
  3. The increased sense of urgency
  4. Enhanced individual agency
Read more for further explanation.

How Political Activists Are Making The Most Of Social Media
  • Lesson 1: Integration is key: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Consistent messages.
  • Lesson 2: Listen before engaging. Then engage in a sustained value-driven dialogue.
  • Lesson 3: Turn online interaction into offline action.

Social Media Handbook for Activists

Healthcare activism: Should medical students care?

Why Health Activists Should Care about FDA Regulations of Social Media

Wego Health - A Community that aims to empower health activists
A Trio of Twitter Tales by P. Mimi Poinsett MD

So I hope that stimulates some new thoughts and ideas, and reaffirms some old knowledge as well. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday to delve a little further into this topic.

“Find your voice, and inspire others to find theirs.” Stephen Covey

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