MedCity News ran an incredibly informative article earlier this week on how people use social media - and more specifically, Twitter - to consume and discuss health information. Reporting on a recent talk from Twitter engineer Craig Hashi at Cleveland Clinic’s ePatient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit, Neil Versel shared:
Some 40 percent of consumers believe that information they found on social media affects how they deal with their health, [Hashi] said. A quarter of Internet users with chronic illnesses look for people with similar health issues. And 42 percent search online for reviews of health products, treatments and providers.
Twitter processes 23,000 weekly tweets with the words “feet hurt,” and the frequency naturally increases as the day and the work week go on, though many people tweet that when they get home on Saturday night as well. “Dr. Scholl’s can actually come in and reach these people,” Hashi suggested.
“Allergy” tweets mostly occur between March and June, Hashi said. “Sunscreen” also peaks in the late spring and summer. “Uncomfortable tummies” is highest on Thanksgiving, with lesser spikes at Christmas and on Super Bowl Sunday. Hashi said that Tums advertised on Twitter around Thanksgiving.
And for those who question the value of Twitter, or don't quite understand its place in health care, these figures might give you pause: "The volume of information available on Twitter is staggering, Hashi said. There are half a billion tweets send every day. There will be more words on Twitter in the next two years than in all books ever printed. An analysis Hashi put together found that there were 44 million cancer-related tweets in the 12 months ending in March 2015, and traffic spiked in October, which happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month."
Previously: Finding asthma outbreaks using Twitter: How social media can improve disease detection, Advice for young doctors: Embrace Twitter, Twitter 101 for patients, Bertalan Meskó discusses how mobile technologies can improve the delivery of health care and What to think about when using social media for health information