‘For Me, the Biggest Benefit is Being Ahead of the Game’: The Use of Social Media in Health Work
Social Media + Society
Using social media in the workplace raises a number of issues for any occupation, including those concerning professional identities, norms of behaviour, modes of communication and management of workload. 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 the field of communicable disease. We identified several key features shaping the use of social media in this context. 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, the casual tone of interactions), tacit norms and assumptions about professional behaviour and social media (whether or not 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, stigmatised, 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, the types of networks they were able to establish). More broadly, the findings of this study highlight the importance of context when considering how people use social media in the workplace.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is freely available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 3, Iss. 2