Current information about psychology reaches millions with new social media initiatives

People worldwide engaged in exchanges on a daily basis about the latest advances in psychological science and the association’s work on behalf of the discipline.

By fully engaging the power of social media, the Office of Public & Member Communications dramatically expanded APA’s ability to educate the public about psychology’s scientific research and the diverse roles psychologists play in helping people lead healthy, productive lives.

In 2012, APA’s Facebook followers grew by 40 percent, reaching more than 40,000 fans; our LinkedIn discussion group increased by 32 percent, to 5,375 members and our LinkedIn company page followers rose 44 percent, to 5,801. APA’s YouTube channel went from 20 subscribers and 1,750 views at the end of 2011 to 181 subscribers and nearly 19,000 views by mid-November.

APA’s first organizational Twitter account was launched in March, with followers growing by 20 to 25 percent monthly to reach more than 4,000. A new Google+ page rounds out APA’s main social media presence, gaining 3,533 fans by November.

APA reached hundreds of thousands of consumers through distribution and media coverage of a report for the general public entitled “What You Need to Know about Willpower: The Psychological Science of Self-Control.” The report received widespread news coverage, including a series of radio interviews with Science Directorate Executive Director Steven Breckler, PhD, reaching a national audience of more than 9 million listeners. The Science and Practice directorates collaborated to release the report in conjunction with media outreach for APA’s annual Stress in America survey. The new report responded to the finding that more than a quarter of Stress in America survey respondents in 2011 identified a lack of willpower as the most significant obstacle to reducing stress.

APA also continued its popular "This Is Psychology" video series hosted by APA Chief Executive Officer Norman B. Anderson, PhD. Available to the public on APA’s website and YouTube, episodes in 2012 focused on compelling topics such as psychological research on climate change, eyewitness testimony, recovery from serious mental illness, willpower and psychotherapy’s effectiveness. Anderson’s election to the prestigious National Academies of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in October places him among the most highly respected leaders in the fields of health and medicine.