Social media is an ideal platform to reach teenagers and young adults to encourage sun safety. A research letter published in JAMA Dermatology shared data on the reach of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention’s 2017 Don’t Fry Day Twitter campaign.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used Twitter metrics to assess data and identify what types of individuals and organizations engaged with Don’t Fry Day campaign content.

The 2017 Don’t Fry Day campaign took place on May 26, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. The Council provided a number of social media resources and encouraged participants to tweet using the hashtag #DontFryDay.  

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The hashtag was used to identify and place participants into 1 of 9 categories based on user’s Twitter handles: federal government affiliated; state or local government affiliated; nongovernmental health organization; cancer, health, or medical center; news or media organization; individuals with verified accounts; individuals with nonverified accounts; businesses; or other. Tweets were analyzed during a 5-day period around May 26, 2017. Impressions were used as a measure of potential exposure.

Individual users without a verified account had the highest number of contributors, with 747,713 impressions from 555 accounts. Individuals with verified accounts comprised the fewest contributors (n=18) but the most impressions (n=8,735,549). News organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and cancer, health, and medical centers accounted for the next highest numbers of impressions — 2,573,450, 1,557,819, and 1,376,560 impressions, respectively. Sixty-four contributors could not be classified but accounted for 139,278 impressions. The fewest impressions came from the 201 accounts that were either deleted or suspended at the time of data analysis.

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Researchers found that a tweet from Miami Heat point guard Dwayne Wade accounted for most of the impressions in the verified account category. While Wade’s tweet technically addressed the issue of heat safety, he did include the #DontFryDay hashtag.

“The Don’t Fry Day campaign on Twitter had a large reach, with more than 12 million impressions,” the researchers concluded. “With the 10th anniversary of Don’t Fry Day approaching, organizers should engage media organizations and individuals with a large social media presence because greater efforts are needed to ensure that a wider audience is reached.”


Nguyen JL, Heckman C, Perna F. Analysis of the Twitter “Don’t Fry Day” campaign [published online June 20, 2018]. JAMA Dermatol. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.1481