Tech Talk: Can Twitter be a lifesaving tool?

* Every week, Red Cross Tech Talk looks at different technology or social media tools that pertain to the work we do at the Red Cross. Have an idea? Please let us know!

Tech Talk Can Twitter be a lifesaving tool Twitter as a life-saving tool? You bet. Recently, the Vancouver Sun wrote a story about the social networking tool and its potential ability to save lives.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine believe that Twitter can be used to provide lifesaving information about cardiac arrests and CPR with the public. In one study, the researchers found that 14 per cent of relevant tweets referenced cardiac arrest events with five per cent referencing personal stories about witnessing or experiencing cardiac arrest. In addition, 29 per cent of the relevant tweets involved discussion of CPR or the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). 

In another study, researchers looked at how people search for health related information on Twitter – specifically information related to CPR/AEDs or cardiac arrests. Out of the tweets found, 21 per cent asked questions with regards to cardiac arrest symptoms, risk factors and treatment options. Meanwhile, 39 per cent were questions about CPR techniques, guidelines and certification.

Following both studies, the researchers concluded that Twitter is an excellent tool for health-care providers and advocacy groups to share information and have real-time discussions with the public about CPR training and cardiac arrests. They even believe that Twitter can be used to save lives in an actual emergency – for example, people can ask on Twitter about the closest location of an AED at a public place.

The team at Red Cross Talks already knows of the power of Twitter to share important information about CPR/AEDs. Last November, we hosted six CPR Tweet-ups across the country in which Twitter users had the opportunity to learn CPR and were encouraged to tweet while doing it. More than 50 people who attended the classes shared what they were learning on Twitter by using the hashtag #RedCrossCPR . The hashtag was mentioned over 1,000 times.

What are your thoughts? Would you turn to Twitter for information about CPR/AEDs?

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