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Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Blog |

TWITTER AIN’T JUST FOR TWITS, blog by Dr Michelle Blanchard, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre

Dr Michelle Blanchard, Head of Projects and Partnerships, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Australia

Gone are the days when opening remarks at a conference included an instruction to turn off mobile phones until lunch – scan any contemporary conference audience and you’ll see people engrossed in both what the speaker is saying and in their phones or tablets.

Increasingly, social media has an important role to play in conferences – building a sense of community around events, and allowing greater levels of engagement with audiences onsite and those unable to attend online.

The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre is pleased to be the social media partner for the 2nd International Youth Mental Health Conference. The Young and Well CRC is an Australia-based, international research centre that unites young people with researchers, practitioners, innovators and policy-makers from over 75 partner organisations. Together, we explore the role of technology in young people’s lives, and how it can be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25.

In the lead up to the Conference, we have been working with the IAYMH team to develop and implement a social media strategy which will:

• Generate awareness of and excitement for IAYMH2013.
• Engage onsite and online participants with IAYMH2013, as well as each other.
• Encourage young people and their parents to engage with conversation around IAYMH2013

In the long term this will help to:

• Promote public and professional interest in the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12-25.
• Foster communication and collaboration between individuals and organisations working to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people internationally.
• Highlight new research and best practice in the youth mental health field.

Conference delegates and the broader community will be able to follow the IAYMH on Twitter (@iaymh) where updates and articles of interest will be shared by the IAYMH team.

During the Conference, people from all over the world will experience it alongside delegates by following the #IAYMH2013 and #youthmh hashtags. Images will be posted to #IAYMH2013 by @IAYMH as well as attendees, and a curated photo album will be shared on Facebook. Onsite and online participants will be able to learn from presenters via quotes and statements tweeted by @IAYMH, and interact with each other via Tweeted questions, opinions and conversation.

Find out more about the individuals and organisations attending the conference by following the IAYMH 2013 Attendee List on Twitter:

New to Twitter? Can’t tell a handle from a hashtag? There is a great video here that explains the basics. During the conference, there will also be a range of people on hand to help you get your head around how it all works.

Of course, social media also plays a growing role in engaging young people as well. For those interested in learning more about how technologies can be used to enhance young people’s mental health and wellbeing, the team from the Young and Well CRC will be running a pre-conference workshop on Monday 30 September 2013. You can read more about our workshop ‘Twitter Ain’t Just for Twits: Utilising technologies to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people’ on the Conference website. Our friends at Inspire Ireland are also hosting an event looking at the role of technologies in improving wellbeing in Dublin in the lead up to the IAYMH Conference and we look forward to seeing many of you there.

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