course ID: 2021_SMedia

Social media in global health: potentialities, risks, and new developments


Social media use is an ever-increasing phenomenon that impacts and transforms global and public health, bringing about unprecedented opportunities and significant risks. This course will begin by illustrating the underlying principles that make social media powerful and perilous at the same time. It will then provide an overview of the uses of social media in global health and will look at the evidence, examples and characteristics of successful social media campaigns. In another part, the dangers of social media, such as the proliferation of “fake news”, will be highlighted and measures to ameliorate negative consequences will be discussed. Finally, current advancements, especially the integration of conversational artificial intelligence in social media and its use in health care settings will be introduced. 

Learning objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the underlying mechanisms that make social media “persuasive” and powerful;
  • characterize and differentiate the ways in which social media are used in the context of public health;
  • outline the evidence that underpins these practices;
  • describe the risks and challenges linked to social media use;
  • illustrate different forms and opportunities of embedding conversational AI in social mobile media channels.

Pedagogical method:

Online lecture, videos; polls/quizzes, group work; case work; individual reflection.

Assessment procedure:

Active participation in online lectures and engagement in exercises.

Christoph Pimmer

learning.lab of the University of applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)

Neira A. Budiono

South-East Asia Representative, Young Experts: #Tech4Health, Jakarta, Indonesia