Social Media & Health

While there is great potential for social media to distribute health messages to broad audiences, much remains to be known about the effectiveness of these technologies. I recently completed experimental research testing the persuasive effects of different forms of social media for delivering a cancer risk reduction message. This factorial study varied both the type of social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or blog post) and the source of the message (doctor or layperson) to examine effects on attitudes and behavioral intentions. This study found that, while there are largely more similarities among social media types than there are differences, YouTube may be marginally more persuasive as a message source. Full results of this research have been published in the Journal of Cancer Education.