Twitter Fast Forward: Increasing Reach Potential

Content From: Karen Resha, MA Chief, Communication Operations CDC, NCHHSTP, HCSOPublished: April 10, 20182 min read


Twitter Fast Forward: Increasing Reach Potential

Graphic featuring a tablet and the text: "Are you getting the most from your twitter chats?"

Twitter was born in 2006. By 2007, 400,000 tweets posted per quarter. By February 2008, 100 million tweets posted per quarter. By June 2010, about 65 million tweets posted each day! There was no denying that Twitter allowed the user to spread and amplify messages of many kinds to millions of people.

To tap into the potential of this powerful messaging platform, CDC, through its National Prevention Information Network (NPIN), hosted its first Twitter Town Hall on June 3, 2010, in preparation for National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). At the time, our potential reach for that event was more than 250,000. Today we reach more than a million users with every Twitter chat!

In 2018, most of us here at CDC can say that we know Twitter town halls and chats very well. Through NPIN and with a number of partners CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) has hosted more than 20 Twitter chats for HIV, STD, and hepatitis observances. We have also hosted chats on how to use social media, health literacy, prevention strategies, and more. CDC has originated and participated in many Thunderclaps and, most recently for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a Twitter Blackout.

We send tweets to announce the most recent data releases, campaign launches, research, and strategies, but observance days mark our most prolific Twitter activity, and the first quarter of each new year is rich in observance days. From National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in February to National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in March; STD Awareness Month (Thunderclap: April 18 - Disclaimer); National Minority Health Month (Twitter Chat: April 25, 2-3pm – hashtag: #Partner4HealthEquity; and Thunderclap that went live on April 2Exit Disclaimer); National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, National Transgender HIV Testing Day, and more in April; Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day in May, along with National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day; and of course National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) in June!

With nine Twitter handles in use (representing Center leadership, each Division and key campaigns or programs), NCHHSTP leverages Twitter to bring people together for a specific cause. We are able to get out information in real time through live tweeting and Twitter conversations while also ensuring that our most important messages stay in the conversation through daily tweets. Using this type of social media has proven to be a boon to establishing and building a strong community network united in helping educate and protect the health of people in this country and around the world.