The utilization of social media and video content shared between social sites and Youtube sites is staggering.
However, this technology offers the chance for medical misinformation to be spread and dispersed throughout the general public.
The question becomes an issue about the ‘negative’ or ‘incorrect’ content out there and how does that affect healthcare and public health worker’s goals?
In a recent publication featured in the Journal of Medical Internet Research by Syed-Abdul et al, there was an article aimed at determining what kind of information was presented on Youtube related to anorexia. What they found was that while there were less videos pro-anorexia than those that were informative, the pro-anorexia videos were ‘Liked’ three times more than the informative videos, even though some were created by the CDC and NHS.
I think this is a good reality check for the work that still needs to be done to get out to the target population. Just because we make something doesn’t mean others will gravitate towards it. Perhaps developing sound methods may help such a project.
The researchers concluded that involvement with celebrities and models would bring a wider audience. I can agree with that sentiment and think that that may be what this comes down to–especially since social media can play such a large role. If a media star calls attention to an issue like this through videos it may help out more if they sponsor it.
Can we do the same with apps I wonder?
In an article that iMedicalApps Editor Satish Misra was quoted in, there are a lot of ‘Snake Oil’ apps out there that get a lot of attention. Why? How can we as healthcare professionals steer the general public away from using these apps or listening to these false videos?
I think we need to come together with individuals that can fight for our cause and bring the public into a better awareness. In this case of anorexia, perhaps celebrity involvement or first hand accounts from those in media that have faced such a troubling disease would be beneficial as a public service.