Social media has a pretty bad reputation in the media, when it comes to the impact it has on our daily lives. From psychologists saying that it creates narcissism, to mental health issues and addictions, we are exposed on a daily basis to negative press about social media, and the internet in general.
However, since the rise in use of the Apple Watch, the Fit Bit and online nutritional websites such as My Fitness Pal we decided to delve a little deeper into how Social Media in particular affects health and fitness in society.
1. 40% of people say that information found on social media affects how they've coped with a condition, their view of diet and exercise and their selection of a doctor.
This is important because: People use social media to discuss and circulate their opinions and experiences. We are continuously influenced in our decision making when it comes to healthcare options. For health care professionals, this is both a plus and a negative. The plus being that people are talking about their health issues and questions and are happily coming forward with queries. The down side is making sure that people have access to the correct information, and don't make a decision based on incorrect or false facts.
Health care professionals can easily make correct and proper information available to people on Social Media on verified Facebook, Twitter and Google+ Pages. (Examples below.)
2. 28% of health-related conversations on Facebook are supporting health-related causes, followed by 27% of people commenting about health experiences or updates.
This is important because: People are raising awareness, even if it's by having an opinion or sharing their story or experiences. Having people talking and discussing issues online (such as the ALS ice bucket challenges that went viral on Social Media a few months ago) means that the charities involved in raising funds and awareness for their campaigns get free press. And for a not-for-profit organisation, this is the key to their marketing and PR.
3. 2/3 of doctors are using social media for professional purposes, often preferring an open forum as opposed to a physician-only online community.
This is important because: People feel that doctors in particular are easier to access. Gone are the days where you have to book an appointment (and usually wait weeks) to get time to go over any worries or issues you have with your doctor. Forums are great, when they are run by a professional governing body, because it's guaranteed that the information is going to be correct, safe and secure.
4. 30% of adults are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients
Whether it's someone live blogging about their experience with a particular disease, someone fund raising on behalf of someone they have lost due to a disease or someone who is promoting their healthy living life style for others that want to know more about following in their footsteps, Social Media offers a free marketing pedestal for anyone who wishes to get involved and create a community.
5. 19% of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types.
With the percentage rising every time someone signs up for a health app, monitoring their fitness, tracking their nutritional values or simply to show how far they have run or cycled, it's clear that technology is benefiting the Healthcare Industry
With information being made readily available to those who need it, from professionals who can circulate good quality and useful content from their verified sites, to people sharing personal journeys and experieces with their healthy living, the web has become a place to motivate and encourage those who are in search of top tips and healthy living pointers.
With Facebook groups and pages, Twitter's trends and topics, Pinterest's Boards, Instagram's documentation of life and more... Social Media seems to be having a positive affect on those interested in health and fitness.