This study reports findings from a survey of 281 public relations practitioners in public health departments serving 4 distinct sizes of communities—urban, suburban, large town, and rural—in 48 states. Based on diffusion of innovations theory, the overall purpose of the study is to examine the extent to which social media are adopted within public health agencies and moderators of adoption. Findings demonstrate overall low adoption rates for social media tools. However, significant differences were observed for adoption based on size of communities, with urban communities exhibiting highest adoption rates, followed by suburban, large town, and rural communities. The most frequently cited barrier practitioners named for why they don't think constituents would benefit from health information distributed online was lack of home access to the Internet. Among the 17 percent of practitioners who indicate they use social media to disseminate health information, the most commonly used tools are social networking sites followed by the new media release, blogs, and discussion boards. Rural areas, although lowest in overall social media use, report highest use of podcasting. Implications regarding health and health information disparities are discussed, a potentially new motivation for innovation adoption is introduced, and future studies to follow the S-shaped adoption curve are proposed.
- public relations practitioners,
- public health departments,
- social media,
- public health agencies
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/elizabeth_avery/7/