Why do some journalists have thousands of followers and others barely a handful? Is it better to tweet, ‘gram or Facebook? What about Snapchat? Should you have separate personal and professional accounts? What’s the best way to deal with trolls and negativity? Attendees at Health Journalism 2018 learned how to up their social media game from those who do it well — and how to avoid potential problems — at the “Freelance: Flex your social media muscle” session on April 14.
This year, Facebook launched a virtual currency that allows users to buy extra items in popular games. Now, according to Silicon Alley Insider’s Nicholas Carlson, health reform opponents are using that currency to lure Facebookers into sending a prefabricated anti-health reform letter to their congressman.
Astroturf, everyone’s favorite descriptive for a phony grassroots effort. Photo by purpleslog via Flickr.
“Get Health Reform Right” requires gamers to take a survey, which, upon completion, automatically sends the following email to their Congressional Rep:
“I am concerned a new government plan could cause me to lose the employer coverage I have today. More government bureaucracy will only create more problems, not solve the ones we have.”
At 1:15 ET on Wednesday, President Barack Obama will answer questions about health care reform at a live, online town-hall meeting.
In a new wrinkle, the administration will consider questions submitted through several social media outlets:
- On YouTube, people can post brief video replies to Obama’s video invitation
- Twitter users can hashtag their questions with “#WHHCQ“
- On Facebook, people can visit the administration’s page and post their questions there
On the blog Social Media Strategery, Michael Dumlao writes about how the rapid viral spread of disinformation about H1N1 showed the need for government agencies to engage the public directly via social media and to provide steady streams of accessible, accurate information in order to control rumors similar to those delivered by the Centers for Disease Control via Twitter.
Dumlao quotes Department of Defense new and social media director Jack Holt as saying that if the government is not an active participant in the social media universe, then it abdicates control of that arena to folks who are, and to folks who may be impersonating government agencies, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, Dumlao says, it’s the government’s job to engage social media and protect the public from potentially malicious or damaging disinformation.
Dumlao chronicles the well-documented spread of H1N1 disinformation and how it was contained once formal media started to address the inaccurate claims, and suggests that the government must use social media to monitor the spread false information at the same time that it is using it to disseminate a more accurate picture of events.