Background: Social networking sites offer new ways of encouraging healthy behavior by leveraging existing social relationships. Use of social networking sites has quadrupled in the past four years, making it an ideal platform to reach the populations most affected by STDs, such as HPV. People are accustomed to receiving endorsements from their friends and family, who they trust – the people who know them best and share many common concerns and interests—giving them credibility. However, sharing information about stigmatized illnesses can be sensitive and problematic.
Objectives: Promote HPV prevention and vaccination, particularly among young women; Develop and pilot a novel application that allows people to anonymously spread information about HPV; Relate knowledge of HPV to demographic characteristics and social network position.
Methods: Develop a novel, interactive Facebook application, Face Check: HPV with expert input. Assess usability and message clarity based on tenets of social marketing. Promote the application through several dissemination strategies, including Facebook ads; links from advocacy group websites; and information channels in university settings. Evaluate the use of the application and how it propagates through the Facebook social network through friend referrals.
Results: The application will be officially launched on Oct. 6, 2009 (after the deadline of this abstract submission). At the time of poster presentation, we plan to show the results and evaluation of the tool for sharing information.
Conclusions: Conclusions will be based on our results and how to best use the information gathered for future work.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research:Collecting data via a quiz on social networking sites allows researchers to relate one’s social network position to one’s knowledge, behavior, and attitudes. This has significant implications for identifying thought leaders and promoting healthy behavior through existing social networks.