Some are using it to tell people more about the personal side of their lives. We are told that the Health Secretary Alan Johnson
“is taking his excellent staff out for a very liquid lunch”.
Hmm – rather inviting comments from the alcohol units police but we get the point – Government ministers are human and have humans working for them.
Andrew Duggan of the Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust wants to use Facebook to engage with young people and is quoted as saying that
“an important objective for us at the moment is engaging with younger people; our staff, patients and (foundation trust) members of the future”.
He acknowledges the fact that this group is traditionally difficult to engage with.
This is the sort of challenge that local involvement networks (LINks) have to meet as well. The younger people are – as the phrase goes – ‘digital natives’ as opposed to digital immigrants i.e. anyone who has not grown up in the digital age. They are most comfortable working in the sort of e-environment that Facebook and others of that ilk e.g. My Space and Bebo provide.
The challenge of course is not so much the technology. It is easy to set up what Facebook calls ‘pages’ where companies and organisations can post news and promotional messages for fans who have signed up to the page. Quantities of said fans are then supposed to post their reactions to the content. The difficulty lies in coming up with the hook that gets users signed up, interested and posting. Remember the internet phenomenon ‘the lurker’ – those who observe silently but never join in? I shall ask the MAC instant family-based research panel of digital natives – some pictured below and ranging in age from 5 to 26 – what would get them interested in a NHS site? We will report back.
It sounds interesting and fun and one for the Wandsworth LINk to take on board at once. Watch their space.