Social Media-Based Health Communication
Perhaps the fastest-growing, most utilized form of internet-based communication is social media. Globally, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube are among the most visited and utilized websites on the internet. As these and other social media platforms continue their rapid growth and reach, it is important to ensure that the utilization of each is done with inclusion and accessibility as key focus areas.
One of the greatest benefits of using social media sites is that they allow users (individuals and organizations) to communicate in a variety of ways, from macro-level public announcements and advertisements all the way down to tailored, micro-level, individual messages. This is done with built-in tools such as wall posts, direct messaging, and by liking or sharing other users’ posts. Additionally, many media communication tools and websites have been created that allow individuals and organizations to advocate and show support for various causes, issues, and campaigns. These tools include podcasts, video-hosting (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo) and image-sharing (e.g., Pinterest, Instagram) sites, blogs, buttons, badges, eCards, and widgets.
This resource outlines multiple social media and provides strategies for ensuring that health messaging campaigns that utilize them are inclusive. Specifically, this resource is intended to help users achieve inclusion by ensuring that a portion of content either focuses on or includes individuals with disabilities and/or disability-related issues. This can be accomplished in such manners as creating messages specific to certain disability communities, incorporating images of individuals with disabilities in promotional materials, and using social media platforms to link to outside information regarding disability-related issues and information.
Approximately one in six million Americans have some form of disability. Consider a health communication strategy for creating, posting, and otherwise disseminating messages via social media that attempts to ensure that at least one in six posts, messages, advertisements, etc. are in some way inclusive of people with disabilities so that they might buy into and experience the same benefits of various health messages and campaigns as people without disabilities.
Many social media platforms allow for the promotion and dissemination of health communication messages utilizing both the platform itself, as well as other internet communication tools and websites. When utilizing these platforms consider incorporating additional strategies discussed in Promoting Inclusive Health Communication to ensure that the greatest possible levels of inclusion and accessibility are achieved.