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Journal cover: Journal of Social Marketing

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Online from: 2010

Subject Area: Marketing

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NIDA engages teens through its blog: lessons learned

Document Information:
Title:NIDA engages teens through its blog: lessons learned
Author(s):Everly Macario, (IQ Solutions, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA), Carol Krause, (National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland, USA), Jennifer Cooke Katt, (National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland, USA), Shelley Caplan, (IQ Solutions, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA), Robin Stevens Payes, (IQ Solutions, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA), Alexandra Bornkessel, (IQ Solutions, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA)
Citation:Everly Macario, Carol Krause, Jennifer Cooke Katt, Shelley Caplan, Robin Stevens Payes, Alexandra Bornkessel, (2013) "NIDA engages teens through its blog: lessons learned", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 3 Iss: 1, pp.41 - 55
Keywords:Blogs, Drug abuse prevention, Drug addiction, Social media, Teens
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/20426761311297225 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this case study is to examine the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) use of its Sara Bellum Blog (SBB) as a means of engaging teens in the science behind drug abuse/addiction.

Design/methodology/approach – This case study presents how the SBB was conceptualized and is implemented. Metrics for monitoring the SBB are mostly qualitative and measure the extent of engagement (customer feedback, coverage by others).

Findings – Teens want to watch videos, see photos, hear real stories about other teens, be able to ask questions about drugs anonymously, not be preached to, and be stimulated to think for themselves. However, the extent of SBB comments was lower than expected. Multiple communication venues are needed, including engagement among intermediaries and role models for teens, such as teachers.

Research limitations/implications – Data presented are process measures of use and types of use, not outcomes based.

Practical implications – The use of social media is a worldwide phenomenon, as is drug abuse among teens. Governments across countries can use lessons learned to inform the development of their own blogs and/or other social media tools.

Originality/value – While there are constraints on government agencies' use of social media, NIDA is a Federal institute that has found a way to communicate directly with teens about the sensitive topic of drugs. NIDA works with a Teen Advisory Group composed of a diverse representation of youth to inform the development of teen-oriented messages and materials. NIDA fuses the use of social media across NIDA channels (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) with science-based information to empower teens to make healthy decisions.

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