Social media plays a vital role in public health. It can be a strong tool for communications, advocacy, public education, and community outreach. It has also proven to be an important resource for emergency preparedness and outbreak events.
Terms and Jargon for Social Media:
(T) = Twitter
(F) = Facebook
(L) = LinkedIn
Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. These media are usually built on the ideological and technological bases of Web 2.0 (from Wikipedia). (T) (F) (L)
A group of social interactions and relationships. Social network is often used as a synonym for social media. (T) (F) (L)
A profile is the place on a social networking site to display an individual user’s personal information (e.g., name, pictures, links, and posts). (T) (F)
A newsfeed is a feature that tells people on Facebook about their friends’ recent activities on the site and a follower stream on Twitter. (T) (F)
A hashtag helps organize and share information on Twitter. A hash symbol (#) is a prefix to key words or phrases on Twitter (e.g., #publichealth). Each hashtag is hyperlinked, so a user can click to see all Tweets with the same hashtag and enter the hashtag in the search field of search.twitter.com to for similar results. (T)
A mention is used to reply to another users’ tweet, to address users in tweets, or to associate a user with a tweet. A mention is achieved by placing an ‘at’ symbol before the Twitter user’s name (e.g.: @NACCHOalerts). (T)
A follower is a person who receive your tweets. If you follow someone’s Twitter account, you are a follower. (T)
A retweet is written in Twitter as RT. It is used when a follower repeats a tweet to his or her
followers, thereby spreading a message to more people. (T)
A direct message is written in Twitter as DM. It is a private message sent via Twitter to one of your followers. This is different than a “mention” and @replies. People you follow you can send you a private message. You cannot send a direct message to a Twitter user who does not follow you. (T)
A timeline is a user’s collection of photos, stories, and experiences that tell their story. Facebook launched this theme to replace the old user profile page format. Technically it is still a profile page. (F)
A page is similar to a user profile but it showcases information about organizations and institutions. (F)
A “like” is a way for a user to indicate their appreciation for a post, image, comment, or
other item posted on Facebook. (F)
A cover photo is a unique image you can include in the background of your profile picture. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your timeline. (F)
A story is a way to share and highlight your most memorable posts, photos, and life events on a timeline. (F)
Social Media at NACCHO
- Facebook - NACCHO members should use the NACCHO Facebook page to learn more about NACCHO’s activities, read syndicated log entries, and connect with peers. To learn more about Facebook click here.
- LinkedIn – NACCHO members should join NACCHO’s LinkedIn group and display their professional membership status in their own LinkedIn profile. To learn more about LinkedIn click here.
- Twitter – NACCHO members should “follow” NACCHO on Twitter @NACCHOalerts to stay up-to-date on breaking public health news and learn more about upcoming meetings and events. To learn more about Twitter click here.
- YouTube - NACCHO's channel provides access to the latest public health-related videos and news clips. To learn more about YouTube, click here.
For more information and resources on social media and how to use social media at local health department visit, www.naccho.org/communications/socialmedia/.