Social Media

Social Networks And Health Promotion: A Wellbeing Revolution?


Health issues and communication changes
There was a time – in the not too distant past, as well – when various health conditions weren’t talked about that much. Think, for instance, of cancer. There were television documentaries, of course, and very often highly informative they were too. And in the broadsheet newspapers there were occasional features telling the experiences of people with various forms of the disease, from diagnosis to treatment and recovery.

So, while the information was out there, pre-internet once the newspaper’s date had passed or the television programme had been broadcast, it was difficult to get hold of information outside of the lending library or the general medical practice.

The health communications quantum leap
Fast forward to today, and the change is enormous. The internet provides a wealth of information, both on video and in text form. Health insurance providers promote health via online live chats and in blogs. And there are apps devoted to everything from dental care to fitness to illness symptoms.

One of the biggest changes the web has brought about is in personal communications. And there are many beautifully written blogs by people sharing their experience of various diseases. In many ways it’s made the world more open, and made a lot of things much easier to discuss.

Social media and health
Social networks are of course nothing new, but online social networks are still making their effect felt on the world in a number of surprising ways – from the way people consume news media to the way information is shared across the world. In fact, many news events are now seen reported first through social media and then on the broadcast media afterwards.

And there are now social networks dedicated to conditions such as breast cancer, giving people the chance to interact and share information in an informal setting.  And it’s this idea of ‘social support’ that could see a big impact in terms of the wider ways in which conditions are managed. So, on top of medical care, for instance, people with health conditions will also be able to share experience, ask for advice, and generally feel like they are part of a community rather than managing their condition alone.

Could we be seeing the beginning of a social networking health revolution? It’s perhaps a little too early to say for sure, but given the scale of positive change we’ve seen in so many areas of health promotion and wellbeing, the signs look encouraging.

About the author: Jen Jones writes on workplace wellbeing, international health insurance quote topics, and stress management for a number of blogs and websites in the UK and elsewhere.

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