• Social media is a global phenomenon, enabling the instantaneous information sharing between groups, facilitation of sharing user-generated content, and creating and participation in social networks.
• There is growing interest in the use of social media to support action to promote and protect health, share health information and inform the development of digitally delivered health systems. There is some evidence of gender and age differences in the engagement with social media in the United Kingdom, but robust evidence of the patterns of social media use across population groups, and differences by health status is lacking.
• To maximise the opportunities of social media to improve or protect health and reduce heath inequalities, we need to understand the extent to which people in Wales use social media, and how patterns of use vary across population groups.
• The Digital Technology and Health survey was undertaken in 2018 through face-to-face interviews with a national sample of 1,252 residents in Wales aged 16 years and above. The questionnaire covered the following topics: (i) access to the internet and/or digital technology, (ii) use of social media platforms, (iii) perceptions of sharing health related information on social media, (iv) health
status and (v) demographics.
• Of the eligible households visited by an interviewer, 70% participated in the study. Analyses were completed on the population sampled, and then sub-analyses were limited to people with internet access only to understand the level of engagement with social media in the population, and differences by age, gender, deprivation and health status. Analyses also explored the differences in social media platform use and user categories across groups
• This is the second report in a series of publications on Population Health in a Digital Age and focuses on better understanding who in Wales uses which types of social media platforms.