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Social Media Resources

December 16, 2009

Blue laptopGovernment Agencies on Facebook

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began to use new media tools as a result of peanut product recalls earlier this year. Most recently, the HHS has been using these methods to quickly disseminate H1N1 influenza information to the public. The HHS Center for New Media contains a link to the HHS YouTube Channel that highlights a recently launched public service announcement (PSA) campaign called “Together We Can All Fight the Flu,” as well as several other flu prevention PSAs and news conference videos. The resource-rich Web page also includes various guidelines for YouTube, Twitter, and social media in general.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has used social networking tools extensively during this flu season, including:
  • CDC’s Facebook page was launched in May 2009 to communicate up-to-date information about novel H1N1 flu. It currently has over 52,000 fans.
  • CDCFlu Twitter profile has over 17,000 followers. Both post flu-related information, including webcasts, press briefings, and latest statistics. 
  • CDC’s MySpace page, started in November 2007, includes blog posts, quick access health information, and directs users to consumer health information on, a Web site designed by a consortium of federal agencies was designed as a one-stop access to U.S. government seasonal, H1N1 (Swine Flu), H5N1 (Avian Flu), and pandemic flu information.
  •’s Facebook page has over 3,000 fans.
  •''s Twitter profile has over 6,000 followers with tweets focusing on national flu updates and local health department issues, such as vaccine availability. 

How to Use Social Media: Resources Available

  • Don''t know how to tweet? A NACCHO archived webcast  gives an introduction to using Twitter for H1N1 communications led by health officials from Los Angeles County, CA, and Pima County, AZ.
  • Salt Lake Valley Health Department has an instructive video about using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to communicate H1N1 information. Demonstrates how health department staff can respond to questions from the public or media online, as well as how subscribers can post comments to each other about their experiences.  

See what other strategies local health departments have found useful in their H1N1 response through a searchable "Stories from the Field" Web page created by NACCHO. You can also submit useful practices or share a story about your use of social media technology during the H1N1 response.


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