WP 155 Using Social Media to Advance Sexual Health -- the Planned Parenthood Approach

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
International Ballroom
Jennifer Johnsen, MPH, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, New York, NY

Background: Social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, offer great potential to reach large populations to promote sexual health.  Almost three out of four online U.S. adults and eight out of 10 U.S. teens use social networking sites, and these proportions are growing.

Methods: Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) currently has six health-related social media sites: two Twitter feeds for adolescents and young adults, two Facebook pages for adolescents and young adults, Tumblr, and Instagram.  Each of these platforms reaches different audiences, and each one has different optimal methods for disseminating health promotion messaging. Theory-based, in-person sexuality education has been shown to be effective in increasing protective behaviors such as delaying initiation of sexual intercourse, and using condoms and contraception. Our approach with our social media sites is to translate what has been found to work in-person into social media content that is engaging, age-appropriate, and ultimately improves sexual health. 

Results: This presentation will provide an overview of the audiences for and goals of the PPFA health-related social media platforms, discuss our internal processes for content creation, including the approach we take in integrating public health and behavior change theories in our messaging, as well as examine some challenges we have faced promoting sexual health on our social media sites.

Conclusions: Young people turn to social media sites to get information about and discuss sexual health.