Our smart phones deliver more than just answers to our Google questions. Mobile phones make communicating with each other easier than ever. About 95% of people in the United States own a cell phone of some kind; 77% own a smart phone. Nationally, the Pew Research Center estimates that seven out of ten people use at least one social media platform to connect with one another, read news, or for entertainment.
Combined with the availability of mobile phones, social media is the perfect avenue for advocacy on today’s public health problems.
By enabling its users to share experiences or expertise about issues, social media helps inform broad audiences about topics like mental health or diet and exercise. Influencers–people who have amassed large audiences on social media–inspire audiences to take action with just one photo or video. They donate to causes or make phones calls to elected officials about pertinent issues. Other times, the influence of messages shared through social media is more subtle. Among other things, they can help us feel more comfortable talking about difficult topics in our everyday conversations with colleagues or friends.
While “likes” and reposts serve as one way to advocate, it is crucial that we have conversations about public health in real life.
Get involved in local advocacy efforts in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) by connecting with the North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NC NAACP) and Minority Health Caucus who host their signature advocacy events in February. The NC NAACP follows a long tradition of social justice advocacy via the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J) on February 9th and the Minority Health Caucus will lead it’s 40th Annual Minority Health Conference on February 22nd. Both events are great ways to learn about local issues and take action both in person and by raising visibility of issues using social media.
By Maribel Sierra
Pew Research Center. (2018, February 5). Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/
Pew Research Center. (2018, February 5). Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/