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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

DrPHealth celebrates 3 years in the world of social media

Loyal readers will be aware that DrPHealth went live in 2011 as a test of social media.  Its niche was in reaching out to Canadian public health professionals to provide a forum for discussing current events in the public health world.

Here we are, with 395 posts, 405 tweets, and nearly 28,000 views reflecting back.

The site has grown in use to an average of about 30 visitors a day, with ranges from just a handful to over 400 on one weekend.  The number of days with over 100 visits are about 10.   The current visitor tends to focus on a couple of posts, and weekly there are a small number that scan a dozen or two on a single visit. 

“Unusual” postings seem to garner the most attention with flurries of activity around fracking, Hookah, Cronuts, e-cigarettes when they first came out, and the (lack of) performance of the Minister of Health. The average post has about 30 specific visits, so those that don’t attract more than a dozen are subjects that lack interest but for which there seems no rhyme or reason.    Title style has little impact and readers seem immune to shock value headlines.  Subjects that are more positive in celebration seem to attract more visitors than those that lay out criticisms, almost a predictable pattern.  

 There are some supervisitors that when they retweet or forward a post to colleagues result in clear surges of visits. Comments remain relatively rare, and sparking dialogue has been an area of underperformance. 

Canadian visits are just below 50%, the US at about one-quarter, Russia at 10%, Germany, China, UK, Ukraine and France rounding out those that have more than 1% of all visits.  Twitter and Google being the prime traffic sources

Three years ago social media was in its childhood.  Bloggers and Tweeters have propagated to the point that following these sources of information has become a full time profession and unsustainable.  Like print news, one has to wonder about what will be the sustainable of these tools.   Search engine crawlers will be needed to follow these sources putting the onus back on the user to ask the right questions and not just try to stay informed from a generic professional perspective.  

As a reader you are invited and encouraged to participate in DrPHealth by leaving comments, writing guest postings, contributing material that would benefit from anonymity, following the blog or following on Twitter.   

Most importantly, it is whether you continue to visit the site that is the test of its ongoing relevance in meeting its mandate.   You can also contribute by ensuring the site or specific postings are distributed to colleagues who may not yet be familiar with this option.

We would love to hear from you in whatever fashion you choose. After all, while public health is about populations, only you benefit by your visit here.

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