This year, the NIAMS social media team has initiated several efforts to reach new audiences by partnering with a number of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, especially with organizations that are part of the NIAMS Coalition.
Social media provides us with new opportunities to collaborate with NIAMS Coalition members in areas of mutual interest. In addition to following and sharing the information that our Coalition partners post, we have worked with several of them on specific events. For example, in recognition of National Osteoporosis Month in May, we partnered with the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Bone Health Alliance for our first Facebook Q&A session. The chat, conducted in English and Spanish, generated a number of questions from our audience about osteoporosis prevention, risk factors and treatments; calcium and Vitamin D; and avoiding falls and the resulting fractures. Our plans for July include a Twitter chat for Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month.
We also continue to participate in Twitter chats hosted by other NIH Institutes and Centers, federal agencies, and other organizations. So far this year, we have participated in:
- Two chats hosted by Dr. Richard Besser of ABC News (#abcDrBchat), on rare diseases and arthritis
- An NIH chat on rare diseases, held in recognition of Rare Diseases Day in February
- Two chats on minority health, one hosted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and one by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
These chats have allowed us to reach far larger audiences than we could have on our own. For example, the chat led by Dr. Besser on arthritis reached an audience of more than 1 million Twitter users, with NIAMS tweets being viewed over 75,800 times.
We are also reaching out to our multicultural audiences by posting two to three messages per week in Spanish about topics of special interest to the Hispanic and Latino communities. These include messages about national health observances, and topics that are prominent in Spanish inquiries that come to our Information Clearinghouse. The social media and National Multicultural Outreach Initiative teams have been working together to promote the multicultural information on our website and in our publications, such as the bilingual fotonovelas Ana’s Story on sports injuries, and Isabel’s Story on osteoporosis.
Moreover, social media allows us to showcase the striking visuals that result from NIAMS and NIAMS-supported research. We continue to share scientific images from our grantees and intramural researchers on our Flickr site, which we launched earlier this year. The NIAMS Flickr site is a great companion to the NIH Flickr site. In addition, the NIAMS YouTube channel features a number of patient testimonials that are captioned in both English and Spanish, as well as videos of NIAMS researchers describing their scientific discoveries.
For more information about our social media efforts, or if your organization would like to explore ways in which we might collaborate, please contact our social media manager Richard Clark.
You can follow NIAMS social media on the following platforms:
Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health