‘For me, the biggest benefit is being ahead of the game’: the use of social media in health work

Deborah Lupton, Mike Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Using social media in the workplace raises a number of issues for any occupation. In this article, we report the findings of a study
that investigated how social media are used in a field of health work. The study uses semi-structured interviews conducted by
telephone with 15 participants working in communicable disease in Australia. We identified several key features shaping the
use of social media. These included the sociomaterial aspects of the workplace (to what extent employees were provided with
access to and allowed to use the Internet), the affordances of social media technologies (fast and real-time communication
and sharing, opportunities to easily connect with peers as well as the public, and the casual tone of interactions), tacit norms
and assumptions about professional behavior and social media (whether social media are considered to be appropriate
tools to use for work and how they should best be used), the specific nature of people’s work (how sensitive, stigmatized,
contentious, or political were the diseases they focused on), and the nature of people’s own experiences (how other social
media users responded to them, what value they perceived they gained from using social media for work, and the types of
networks they were able to establish). The findings of this study highlight the importance of context when considering how
people use social media in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Media + Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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