More health departments nationwide embracing social mediaby Donya on May 2, 2012 • 4:31 pm No Comments
From a Boston campaign that uses online videos to talk to teens about sugary drink consumption to an oversized Louisiana stork who reaches out via Facebook and Twitter about healthy pregnancies, health departments around the nation are embracing social media as a new way to connect with the public.
Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offer health professionals the ability to deliver public health messages — from common-sense guidance to critical information during an emergency — directly and quickly. Because of its low cost and ease of use, more and more health departments are becoming involved in social media, with some campaigns earning both recognition and avid followers.
Around the nation, the use of social media among health departments is on the rise. In March, the National Public Health Information Coalition surveyed about 200 state and local health department websites, finding that 56 percent of state and 53 percent of local health departments used Facebook to communicate, an increase from earlier surveys. A list of state, local and regional health agencies on Twitter available via APHA’s @publichealth account tracks about 180 such accounts.
To continue reading this story from the May/June 2012 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.