With over 50 Twitter accounts and 18 Facebook pages, it’s no secret — the CDC sees value in social media. Through just a handful of sites, they can reach and hear from millions.
“And that’s really the value and beauty of social media,” said Amy Heldman, the team lead for social media at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “It’s another way to disseminate information, one, and two, it’s a really great way to engage with our audiences.”
The CDC regularly updates its website with social media guidelines and their own best practices for health communicators to reference, and social media has become increasingly present at the CDC’s annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.
Social media and teen pregnancy
This summer the CDC released its most recent verified data on teen pregnancy — nationally, from 2009 to 2010 the number of teen moms dropped 9 percent to roughly 34 girls in every 1,000. However, that number varies dramatically from state to state, so while certain regions saw significant declines others saw an increase. These national numbers have left some health communicators searching for new, better ways to reach teens.
The CDC suggests social media.
“Last year we worked with the division of reproductive health at CDC to create a teen pregnancy social media toolkit,” said Heldman, “to collect all of our social media digital content around teen pregnancy and put it one place.”