Background The standard method of sharing information in academia is the scientific journal. Yet health advocacy requires alternative methods to reach key stakeholders to drive change. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of social media and public narrative for advocacy in matters of firearm-related injury and death. Study design The movement This Is Our Lane was evaluated through the #ThisIsOurLane and #ThisIsMyLane hashtags. Sources were assessed from November 2018 through March 2019. Analyses specifically examined message volume, time course, global engagement, and content across Twitter, scientific literature, and mass media. Twitter data were analyzed via Symplur Signals. Scientific literature reviews were performed using PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Mass media was compiled using Access World News/Newsbank, Newspaper Source, and Google. Results A total of 507,813 tweets were shared using #ThisIsOurLane, #ThisIsMyLane, or both (co-occurrence 21–39%). Fifteen scientific items and n = 358 mass media publications were published during the study period; the latter included articles, blogs, television interviews, petitions, press releases, and audio interviews/podcasts. Peak messaging appeared first on Twitter on November 10th, followed by mass media on November 12th and 20th, and scientific publications during December. Conclusions Social media enables clinicians to quickly disseminate information about a complex public health issue like firearms to the mainstream media, scientific community, and general public alike. Humanized data resonates with people and has the ability to transcend the barriers of language, culture, and geography. Showing society the reality of caring for firearm-related injuries through healthcare worker stories via digital media appears to be effective in shaping the public agenda and influencing real-world events.
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