“Liking” Social Networking Sites – Use of Facebook as a Recruitment Tool in an Outbreak Investigation, The Netherlands, 2012
- *Corresponding Author:
- Georgia Ladbury
Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
Bilthoven, The Netherlands
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: April 09, 2013; Accepted date: June 13, 2013; Published date: June 15, 2013
Citation: Ladbury G, Ostendorf S, Waegemaekers T, Hahné S (2013) “Liking” Social Networking Sites – Use of Facebook as a Recruitment Tool in an Outbreak Investigation, The Netherlands, 2012. Epidemiol 3:123. doi:10.4172/2161-1165.1000123
Copyright: © 2013 Ladbury G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Social Networking Sites (SNSs) such as Facebook offer health researchers a novel means to reach and engage with the public. Following a mumps outbreak in a Dutch village after a Youth Club party organised via the Facebook Events facility, we used Facebook to recruit attendees to our outbreak investigation. After a poor response using traditional means of publicising the study, we opened a Facebook account under the study name, sent private messages about the study to all individuals invited to the party via the Facebook Event, and regularly posted the questionnaire web-link to the online notice boards (“Wall”) on the Youth Club and our own Facebook accounts. We concurrently incentivised participation using gift vouchers but only directly informed individuals who had responded “Yes” to the Event of the incentive. Participant numbers subsequently increased from ten to 60 (response ~60%). 80% of participants reported hearing about the study via Facebook. Although impossible to disentangle the effects of the active Facebook protocol and the incentive, Facebook offered a means of directly contacting attendees whilst avoiding advertising the incentive to non-attendees. SNSs can potentially make an important contribution to modern health research, and ethical codes of conduct should be updated to encompass their use.