Social networking site Twitter can be a useful tool for public health organizations but only if carefully monitored, says a new research.
The study conducted at Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis suggested that public health organizations need to pay close attention to how they disseminate information, and also to the response the campaign gets.
Jenine Harris, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School, said that twitter reaches groups not widely reached by traditional media and its use was growing in the U.S. and globally.
Harris continued that tweets from reputable sources that include high-quality information tend to spread. Public health organizations, therefore, had a great opportunity to facilitate the spread of high-quality health information to groups not typically reached by traditional media.
Harris said that while the response to the campaign was overwhelmingly negative overall, tweets from local Twitter users were mostly positive and Public health professionals should be aware of these sorts of coordinated responses to controversial topics and recognize that the sentiment expressed may not be that of their local constituency.
The study is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.