Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Public health turns to virtual worlds to spread health messages

Public health turns to virtual worlds to spread health messages: "The Whyville flu campaign is just one example of how public health officials are using new tools — social media, social networking and cellphone texting — to disseminate health promotion messages.

The popularity of sites like MySpace and YouTube or virtual worlds like Second Life and Whyville has created exciting new communication opportunities that make the old public health standard — a colour brochure — look about as modern as a wax tablet.

'Social media is absolutely a huge element of what we're doing now. Primarily it's because it's where people are,' says Nall, who talks about her work with infectious enthusiasm.

'Basically the bottom line is that millions and millions of people are going to these spaces. And ... a lot of learning occurs there, a lot of interaction. And so what we're trying to do is provide our health information in that context.'

Others in the public health field are also looking to web-based or mobile media to reach people, whether to pass on information or trace disease contacts or investigate outbreaks."


  1. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Great post Aniruddha.I would also like to point to emergency preparedness training efforts built on the Second Life platform.

  2. Thank you for the informational post. You were a runner up for the Scrubby on


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