Journal of Health Informatics & Management

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An Examination of U.S. Health Departments' Social Media Strategies

Social media allow health organizations, governments, and institutions post timely health related information, respond to crises, and create two-way communication with the public. Considering the rapid growth of social media use in public relations, state-level health departments have recognized the potential of social media platforms for engaging publics and increasing the awareness of health issues. Using the dialogic principles as a theoretical framework, this study investigated how state-level health departments were using Facebook to build and maintain relationships with the public. Furthermore, this study attempted to explore whether there were significant changes in terms of Facebook management strategies over time. We conducted a content analysis of state-level health departments. Facebook posts over a two-year period. Findings demonstrated that state health department’s were not fully engaging in dialogic communication. Only a limited portion of the posts were utilizing the four dialogic principles. In addition, there was no significant change in 2014 when compared with the 2012 data. This analysis revealed some key points regarding statelevel health departments' use of Facebook as a relationshipbuilding tool.

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