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Under the headline ‘Global health and social media don’t mix. Says who?’ The Global Public Health group on LinkedIn announced yesterday that 10,000 people from across the world are now members.

I am one of the 10,000 members and all though I have had my LinkedIn profile for many years I just joined the Global Public Health group about four months ago. I did not have very high hopes for theses LinkedIn groups (I also join a group called Health 2.0) but I must say that my prejudice have been proven wrong. The groups I have joined are indeed very active and contains a bunch of people who are ready to share their knowledge, ideas, contacts etc.

As a participant at Science Online London 2011 last week I encountered participants who shook their head when they heard that LinkedIn was actively being used. But as others rightly pointed out LinkedIn has become a very useful network platform for some areas. I just didn’t know that this applied to Public Health too.

Through the two groups I have established contacts to people interested in the same topics as my self, I have been given great references to articles, project and initiatives and I have entered into separate communication with people I did not know of before and have never met, but who have done an effort to help me out. All in all, a very good experience. I do not know if LinkedIn is the most optimal platform, but it seems to work and people are here and actively participating, which makes it a social network. And it proves that Global Public Health and social media can mix. Lots of more mixing can surely happen, but this is a good starting point for newcomers to using social media as part of their public health professional life.

The Global Public Health group has 12 sub-groups covering specific topics such as maternal and reproductive health, social determinants, health finance and economics. The group has recently changed to an open group, so daily discussions can be read by anyone. The group Health 2.0 is closed, which means that you have to join it to be able to follow the discussions.

In the menu bar of LinkedIn it is under ‘groups’ also possible to get recommendations on groups one might find interesting. This reveals that there are several public health related but topic specific groups and organisation specific groups out there. Some bigger than others of course, but surely worth the time to go through.

Just like Facebook, Google+ etc. LinkedIn now also have apps for iPhone and Android.