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Question 1: How could social media revolutionize the way researchers and health professionals collect information and analyze trends?

Video length: 01:10

Video transcript

(Dr. Norm Vinson is sitting at his desk. He addresses the camera.)

Well, there are two advantages to social media over traditional ways of collecting information. The first advantage is costs, and social media can be a much lower-cost solution than for example conducting surveys. So you can collect a lot more information for a lot less money than you could with a survey. Surveys also tend not to go out to that many people.

Another issue with social media is that the data is much more timely. So if you were relying on traditional sources of information even for epidemiology, you know, your data would be at least a week old, more like, most likely a week old. And a-week-old data is too old if you want to intervene in an outbreak that's progressing right now. So if you're using social media, your data might be instead of being a week old, it might be a day old, it might be two days, and that still gives you enough time to act and to reduce the effects of the outbreak or even prevent the spread of the outbreak.

(Text on screen: National Research Council Canada. Copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by National Research Council of Canada, 2011)

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ISSN 1927-0275 = Dimensions (Ottawa. Online)