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The power of social media was demonstrated earlier this month when the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration employed the Internet to spread important information about the recall of certain peanut butter and peanut-containing products that are associated with the recent Salmonella Typhimurium outbreaks.
FDA created a widget so that news, parenting, health care and other concerned parties can access the agency-maintained database listing all recalled peanut products directly from their Web sites.
It also used podcasts, YouTube video, Twitter and a blog to broadcast information about the recall, the Salmonella outbreak and the related investigations.
In doing so, it enlisted the help of consumers to spread the word further and faster than it could possibly do on its own. A concerned father sends the YouTube link to his son, away at college, who posts it on his Facebook profile and shares it with his 200 friends, who, in turn, do the same thing, and so on, and within a few hours the message has reached several thousand people.
This is precisely why the platform has begun gaining traction with retailers and CPG manufacturers to connect with consumers, and they have -- and continue to -- discover new and interesting ways of doing so.
Full information about these tools is available on a new HHS, FDA and CDC social media Web page at www.cdc.gov/socialmedia