You’ve probably noticed that here at H&HN we take full advantage of one particular aspect of the internet that we like to call social media. I first brought social media to wide attention in 2009, but allow me to repeat what I patiently explained then for readers who still aren’t as cutting-edge as you and I. Social media was invented by 20-year-olds out in Silicon Valley in California, where 20-year-olds apparently have nothing better to do than sit around Starbucks and invent stuff and make $40 billion. Social media is like email only better because — well, I can’t explain exactly why it’s better, but it is, take my word for it. 

There are all kinds of social media, and each one has a cleverer name than the other — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube. Approximately 5,000 new forms of social media are introduced every hour, and within seconds, each attracts 2.1 billion teenage followers around the world. 

Social media has many nifty uses, It allows you to connect to friends, relatives and total strangers. You can share important information, send good wishes or assume an untraceable user name and brutally bully innocent people without fear of anybody knowing it’s you. This year, I failed to “like” all of the Facebook messages I received about why one or the other of our presidential candidates was a crook, a traitor, a raving maniac and unpleasant to look at, and thereby permanently alienated 85 percent of everybody I’ve ever met.

Professionally, I grew up in a nondigital world. Digits were those things at the end of our hands with which we reporters pounded out our journalistic masterpieces on Olivetti uprights in smoke-filled newsrooms. But while some might wax nostalgic for the good old days, there’s no denying that social media enables publications — including H&HN — to disseminate information to readers in a much more targeted and timely manner. By synthesizing digital and print formats, we strive to give folks like you access to information when and where you want it. Social media provides a variety of reporting opportunities, from in-depth case studies to late-breaking news. It allows us to offer convenient links to whole libraries of tools and resources, like those compiled by the American Hospital Association and Health Forum, on such hot topics as MACRA, equity of care, operational innovation, clinical integration, governance, physician relations and much more.

We know how busy you are, and we know that the volume of information that comes via your various electronic devices is mind-numbing. At H&HN, we try to help you sort the wheat from the chaff. Our e-newsletter, H&HN Daily, presents, policy updates, research, analysis and practical advice written by our staff in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and by well-known and respected experts like Ian Morrison, Joe Flower, Paul Keckley, Jeff Goldsmith and others. We use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to expand the reach of those articles as well as to share news as it happens. Our goal is to help you to easily identify what information is relevant to you so you can pick and choose where to invest your time.

You don't have to be a technophile like I am to reap the benefits of social media and the internet. Keep up with the lightning-fast changes taking place in health care on the web at HHNmag.com, on Twitter by following @HHNmag. Contact me at bsantamour@healthforum.com and on Twitter using the handle @bsantamour.