Originally published April 29, 2013
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has one of the best social media footprints of any state health department in the U.S., according to a new analysis.
MPHProgramsList.com, a public health education advocacy group, included DPH on its list of the Top 45 Most Social Media Friendly State Health Departments for 2013. The department ranks 17th with an overall score of 74.4 out of a possible 100 points.
The list awarded points for each health department's use of social media platforms -- 30 points for Facebook, 40 points for Twitter and 30 for YouTube. DPH's Facebook page earned 22.4 points, its Twitter profile earned 31.2 points and the DPH YouTube channel garnered 20.7 points.
Rob Schliff, who coordinated the analysis, said the list is intended to emphasize the importance of using social media to communicate about public health.
"Health departments should be on the forefront in letting the public know of details concerning an epidemic, pandemic, natural disaster, terrorist attack or other event that affects its public health. The use of social media allows for the quick dissemination of such information. We felt it was necessary to let each state know how they are doing, especially in comparison to other states," he said.
"This important recognition is another assurance we're moving in the right direction," said Ryan Deal, DPH's director of communications. "It's essential that we communicate with people where it matters most. And study after study tells us social media is the first place an increasing number of people turn to for health information."
Deal said the department's platforms are still in their infancy, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts opened less than two years ago when the department became a stand-alone agency.
"I'm amazed at where we've come since July 1, 2011, but I'm not surprised. I see the hard work our team is doing," Deal said.
DPH's social media reach has grown even larger since the list was compiled. In April, the department's Twitter account surpassed 1,000 followers and its Facebook page has nearly 1,100 likes.