A recent study summarized here looked at the conversations about childhood obesity on Twitter by monitoring the hashtag #childhoodobesity. The citation for paper can be found here. What they found was that the conversations didn’t include many government and public health experts that probably had good information about how to best approach this issue. They also reported that Twitter is used by those in lower-income groups, which traditionally are more difficult to reach with health information (Pew Research Center). Also worth noting is that Twitter is used equally across education groups and a diverse population (and by younger Americans).
I think that Twitter can be a great avenue for accurate information from knowledgeable sources. I decided to join in the conversation as an expert on air pollution (#airpollution) and indoor air quality (#IAQ), so that I can help to disseminate accurate information about important topics relevant to public health and the environment.
I think it important to share my knowledge about specific topics such as #aircleaners, #UVGI, #EnvTox, and #microbenet. I send tweets about results of my research, for example that using your exhaust over your stove significantly reduces your exposure to cooking emissions (cooking emissions can be a big exposure to pollutants; NOTE: your exhaust must be sent outdoors, not back into the kitchen!), or that exposure to PM2.5 elemental carbon is most strongly associated with health effects in Denver (think diesel). I also enjoy tweeting from conferences that I attend, like the recent Indoor Air 2014 in Hong Kong (#IA14).
In return I have received many great pieces of information from those that I follow. New data from the EPA (e.g. @EPAresearch, @EPAiaplus), updates from recent journal articles (e.g. @AJPH, @EHPonline, @EnvSciTech, @PLOSONE), recent air pollution levels in China and London, and news from colleagues (too numerous to mention!).
I invite other experts, academics, government scientists, etc. to join in, with the goal of reaching a wide variety of people. Let’s share what we know, and what really works to improve health and the environment.