Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
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A New Social Media Strategy: The #SBMawareness Twitter Initiative

Ellen Beckjord, PhD, SBM Website Editor
Alicia Sukup, SBM Website staff liaison

Happy Fall from the Web Editing Team!

This year we plan to continue to raise SBM's social media presence by capitalizing on the momentum we built last year with our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Currently, SBM has close to 350 followers on Twitter - a number that we'd like to see go up significantly between now and the Annual Meeting (#SBM2013).

While social media doesn't replace our other methods of communicating with the behavioral medicine research community, we believe there is value in thinking creatively about how to use social media to foster communication, collaboration, and awareness of priority issues in behavioral medicine. Last year we used blogs from each SIG - posted on Facebook, publicized via Twitter, and timed, when possible, with topical health-related awareness months - to put the word out about the latest research across the topic areas covered by each SIG. We were thrilled with the excellent blogs from the SIGs, but also noted that the blogs were a time consuming endeavor for our members and didn't seem to foster the kind of real-time, continuous dialogue we hoped they would (likely because a new blog was posted only about once every six to eight weeks).

This year we're going to try something different. Via Twitter, we will be promoting the use of the hashtag "#SBMawareness" to thread together mini-conversations about issues in behavioral medicine. Our hope is that the hashtag will become a marker of opportunities for our Twitter followers to weigh in on an issue, as well as start a conversation of their own.

Some of our #SBMawareness Tweets will be sent spontaneously, in response to other relevant topics posted by the Twitter users @BehavioralMed follows. But we also have a list of 35 Tweets prepared to deploy over the course of the next 12 months that will be timed with health-relevant events (e.g., in October, we will tweet with #SBMawareness for Child Health Day, Mental Illness Awareness Week, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Health Literacy Month).

Please consider joining or starting a #SBMawareness thread on Twitter, and if the conversation gets big enough, migrating it to Facebook. We hope that some of these conversations become fodder for real, in-person meet ups at the Annual Meeting (how retro!), as well as keep cutting edge issues in behavioral medicine at the forefront of the larger conversations happening via social media about health.