File this one under “No sooner said than done.” Just last week, Pete Blackshaw wrote on the ConsumerGeneratedMedia.com blog that the FDA could and should use social networking and digital media to better reach and educate consumers about the recent Salmonella outbreak. He suggested:
- Using video to connect with and reassure consumers;
- Including links that make it easy to share content through e-mail and social networking sites;
- Creating a presence on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace;
- Creating widgets that can be used on other Web sites to help share FDA info;
- Building a blog that provides a steady stream of info about the recalls;
- And using photos of product involved in the recall.
Lo and behold, the FDA issued this release announcing a new social media Web page featuring several of the same ideas, as well as podcasts in English and Spanish, a Twitter option and health e-cards for Salmonella updates (a gesture that, supposedly, is designed to show someone that you really care). In what may be a signal of real change, the effort is being directed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ new Center for Social Media Center, “a collaborative body dedicated to advancing social media adoption, research and evaluation among Federal agencies.”
One thing lacking, however, is a sense of urgency: the latest news is not displayed, which forces readers to conduct a search for the most recent developments. But take a look and decide for yourself. Overall, is this a step in the right direction? And how might it be improved?
Note: The CDC and FDA are holding a special webinar today for bloggers about the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak and associated recalls of peanut butter and peanut-containing products.