The need to incorporate social media influencers (SMI) in public health due to the great influence they wield in the society has been stressed.
Making the point during the ongoing three day workshop agenda for media journalists and social media influencers organized by Adamawa State government in conjunction with World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, Professor Bashir Abdullahi of Modibbo Adama University said in contemporary world, SMIs operate like magnets.
He noted that SMIs are as important as the mainstream media urging health policymakers to mainstream their activities in passing key messages to the general public.
Professor Bashir Abdullahi however urged the SMIs to engage in evidence based story telling in order to avoid factual errors. He also advised the SMI to avoid influencing their followers wrongly just as he urged policymakers to use both the journalists and social media influencers effectively while passing key health related messages to the the general public.
He urged the SMIs to strive to feed the general public with credible and reliable information and to engage the audience positively and constructively.
The university don urged them to always contextualize their stories and to be careful in selecting sources and health experts while dealing with health issues.
He counselled the SMIs and journalists not to waste precious energy in debunking Myths until they grow big just as he urged them to embrace human interest angle stories as they give more colour to story telling on health issues.
Also in his presentation, Professor Danjuma Gambo of Modibbo Adama University (MAU) challenged journalists and SMIs to engage in deep research as it will be difficult to give what you don’t have.
He urged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to take the lead in the advocacy for the establishment of a research desk officer in every media organization.
He also tasked the NUJ to open a research and documentation office for the benefit of its teeming members adding that the world has so much evolved where only evidence based story telling thrives.