Office of National Drug Control Policy Brief
Date: July 13, 2012
Youth and Social Media
• 95% of youth are online and 80% of those use social media.
• Conversations on drug-related behavior take place more on micromedia using different slang terminology than used in person.
• Accessible, ubiquitous, fast-paced, and dynamic nature of social media increases the possibility to influence a wide array of behaviors in youth.
• Potential to normalize and even encourage drug and alcohol use through images and online.
• Both automatic and manual methods were used to gather data from the Internet because many Deep Web conversations cannot be picked up using automated tools or web crawlers.
• Two data mining platforms, Collective Intellect and Radian6, were used to scan conventional social media sites.
• Content was evaluated based on distribution, demographic, and type of content available.
Virtual Scanning Findings
• Slang changes regionally and discussions flowed from state to state and skipped sometimes.
• Facebook, used widely, contains a smaller portion of drug conversations (14%), but has more alcohol-related content by older teens.
• Drug terms are more often used by males (60%).
• In July 2011, there were over 1 million internet drug postings in 30 days.