IH Section Communication Survey Results

The results of the IH Communications Surveys are in!  The section’s Communications Committee asked you, the section members, to complete a Survey Monkey questionnaire and provide their thoughts on how the section communicates with you.  The survey was divided into two parts.  Forty-six people responded to the first part, which covered the section’s traditional
communications platforms
(the newsletter, the monthly e-mail and the website);
28 responded to the second part, which focused on the section’s use of new social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and the IH Blog).

Generally speaking, the respondents read the newsletter (69.6%) and e-mails (80.4%), and they check the website at least occasionally (73.9%).  There were a handful of respondents that did not know that we published these communications, so the section has some work to do to make sure that its members know that these are available.

Unfortunately, use of social media was not as popular as we had hoped.  Of the 28 respondents to this part of the survey, nearly half (42.9%) rarely or never read the blog, and 25% did not know we even had one.  Similarly, very few respondents subscribed to the Facebook page (10.7%) or the LinkedIn group(14.3%).  However, our blog averages 30-40 hits per day (currently around 1,000 visits per month), our Facebook page has 60 subscribers, and our LinkedIn group has 439 members.  Considering these numbers, it seems that there are a lot of non-members plugging into our social media, which is not necessarily a bad thing – but our members should be encouraged to take advantage of them as well!

Considering that our social media platforms are very popular among the online global health community, these should be advertised to the section in general at the Annual Meeting, particularly during the first business meeting when attendance is highest.

We also need to encourage members to contribute to the blog and newsletter.  Several survey respondents mentioned that they would like to read about other members’ programs and want an emphasis on practice, rather than research.
Obviously, people have to WRITE about their programs so that we can read
about them.  This should start with the section leadership, who should be setting the example for the rest of the section.  Another resource could be asking students to write about their practica or recent graduates to summarize
their fellowships.  This is easy enough to do in interview format for the blog (see
https://aphaih.wordpress.com/category/stories-from-the-field/), but those students need to be referred to the blog manager to be interviewed.

3 responses to “IH Section Communication Survey Results

  1. Experimental Mouse

    Dear Editors,
    I found this posting very interesting, not because of the results you found, but the way you interpret them.
    I was really surprised about your surprise in connection with social media. Social media – as it is in its name – is for keeping in touch with other people, and not for exchanging scientific or other serious thoughts.
    It is like people being present at each and every congress. Do you really think they are motivated by the keen on science, or widening their knowledge? I don’t think so.
    When experiencing things like this this I always put the question:
    When on earth does this guy make his great science, or use what heard from others if he is always sitting on congresses?
    It has nothing to do with such sublime things. It is simply rubbing shoulders with others, having the same ideas about the whole.
    Facebook, Twitter and the whole so called social media is exactly about the same. Even much worse, in that aspect, that nobody can make any selection, if he/she wants to be touched by all the people being actually present, or not?
    There is one option left for the people – like me, and seemingly the majority of your regular readers – if they are interested purely in the professional part of any website, and not in the persons “chatting” there: Forget about social media.

    Best regards:

    Experimental Mouse

  2. Experimental Mouse,
    Thank you for your comment. While I appreciate your thoughts, I must say I completely disagree with them. Scientists do not use social media to conduct research, but advocates and professionals in my generation are utilizing it to a huge extent to make professional connections and exchange ideas. There is a vibrant and vocal community of global health professionals who blog and exchange ideas on Twitter beyond what they are watching on TV; journalism is moving in this direction as well (http://www.globalhealthhub.org/2011/02/11/letter-from-the-editor-the-future-of-global-health-journalism/).

    Making use of social media holds the same utility as going to a conference. We attend conferences, symposia, and professional workshops not primarily to enrich our professional knowledge (though this is a factor), but to meet people and make connections. The current generation of global professionals is doing this online now, too. Many of the global health bloggers recognize and follow one another; when we encounter each other in person, we have common ground, which makes it much easier to springboard into collaboration or refer each other to other professionals who share our interest. This field, like so many others, is all about who you know.

    There are concrete benefits to plugging into social media, particularly if you are a student or new professional. We post internship and fellowship opportunities to this blog frequently, which go directly to Facebook and LinkedIn. Organizations use these media to post job vacancies as well. Most major aid organizations have Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and blogs, and universities are headed that way, too. Even the federal government is jumping on the bandwagon. There would not be a huge surge toward these technologies if they were not valuable.

    • Experimental Mouse

      Jessica,
      You are absolutely right, journalism is moving that way AS WELL, and there are people who like it and others simply don’t. That doesn’t mean that one is good and the other is bad, (even my intent was not to say that) just we have to accept people as they are. That’s all I just wanted to comment on this issue.

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