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August 2008

August 26, 2008


Share, Listen, and Learn

New Media Expo. Video - Audio - Online Content

Last week, the New Media Expo Exit Disclaimer took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Expo brought together 2,000 attendees, including individual media makers, companies, schools, and organizations wanting to learn how to create audio and video content that will educate, inform, and inspire their audiences. The AIDS.gov team was there to learn, listen, and share our own stories.


Photo of Fred Smith

Fred Smith, Senior Technologist at the CDC

On Thursday, Miguel Gomez, Director of AIDS.gov, and Fred Smith, Senior Technologist at the CDC, presented a session on creating podcasts within the Federal government system. They shared what it takes to get cooperation from various departments, how they plan their content, and how they use audio and video podcasts to disseminate information to the communities they serve.


But more important than what Miguel and Fred said was what they heard. Miguel asked Tim Bourquin Exit Disclaimer, Founder and CEO of the New Media Expo, what message he would like to share with the HIV/AIDS community. He said, “I’d recommend just getting started. Interviews are the easiest way to get content up quickly, and they keep the host from having to carry an entire 15- or 20-minute show. Interview people within your organization but also reach out to the people you serve who have interesting stories to tell and interview them as well. Anything that helps you connect with your audience in a more ‘human’ way will be well received.”

Anything that helps you connect with your audience in a more “human” way will be well received.
Photo of Tim Bourquin

Tim Bourquin, Founder and CEO of the New Media Expo

We also asked Tim the lessons he learned from this year’s expo. He told us, “The big lesson from the 2008 New Media Expo is that individuals and organizations can still connect with their constituents directly by starting a blog, podcast, or online video series even if they don’t create media as their primary business. Although production quality matters, being genuine with your audience and putting a human face on any organization is what’s important. With the tools becoming less expensive each day, and editing software becoming easier to use, anyone really CAN do this.”

Fred told us his take-away message was that “we have proven that podcasts are an effective channel for delivering health messages, and we have learned a lot in the process of developing those podcasts. Now it’s time to take our podcasting to the next level by being strategic and creating more personalized podcasts.” Fred said the CDC is planning to allow users to personalize their experience with CDC podcasts---with options like subscribing by topic rather than by predefined series, receiving podcasts that are geographically relevant, and opting for supplemental material to be delivered through a subscription feed.


The Expo was an opportunity for us to meet new colleagues like Pete Alcorn, Manager of Podcasts at iTunes Exit Disclaimer for Apple, Inc., and Michael Geoghegan Exit Disclaimer. We went to several presentations and learned of many new resources, including:

The growth and evolution of new media is changing everything - even conference organizers’ thinking about the future of events like the New Media Expo. We encourage you to read Tim Bourquin’s Exit Disclaimer and Chris Brogan’s Exit Disclaimer blogs to learn more.

Our ability to network with leading podcasters at the Expo led to specific, positive outcomes for AIDS.gov. As a result of our participation at the Expo, AIDS.gov is now working on HIV/AIDS messaging with a college in California and a community health provider in Vermont. We would never have met our colleagues in those organizations without the Expo. As Chris Brogan said, “there’s a lot to learn, many connections to be made, and many new people coming into the social media space every day.”

Were you at the New Media Expo? Or have you attended a conference or workshop lately that you’d like to share with us? We welcome your feedback!

August 19, 2008


"Engage and Deliver" But Don't Forget to "Listen and Learn"

National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.  Engage and Deliver 2008.

Last week, 1,000 people from the fields of public health, social marketing, health communication, health education, and other fields gathered in Atlanta for the CDC’s 2nd Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media. Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director, and Jennie Anderson, AIDS.gov Communications Director, attended the conference. We also participated in a panel called “Social Networks and Online Resources for Health Professionals” and shared the lessons we’ve learned from this blog.

The conference provided the AIDS.gov team with multiple perspectives on how public health leaders are using health communication and media tools (both old and “new”) to respond to public issues (including HIV/AIDS). The conference covered a wide range of topics, including the culture of poverty, peer-to-peer communications, media coverage, and evaluation and Web metrics.

Photo of Miguel Gomez and Jennie Anderson

Miguel Gomez, Director of AID.gov with Jennie Anderson, Director of Communications, AIDS.gov

We were pleased to hear about several HIV/AIDS-focused resources, including:

Presenters also shared many resources which can help us better understand new media tools. Several of these resources included:

We enjoyed meeting (and in some cases reconnecting) with many of our CDC colleagues, along with many others, including Ben Heywood Exit Disclaimer from PatientsLikeMe, Dr. Vish Viswanath Exit Disclaimer from the Harvard School of Public Health Exit Disclaimer, Nedra Weinreich from Weinreich Communications Exit Disclaimer and author of Spare Change Exit Disclaimer, Michael Ruppal from The AIDS Institute Exit Disclaimer, and many others. Many of our relationships in new media are virtual, so it’s always nice to put a face with a name—and replace the ubiquitous :) with a real smile!

Photo of Sandra Thurman

Sandra Thurman delivering the closing plenary session

During the closing plenary, Sandra Thurman, President and CEO of International AIDS Trust Exit Disclaimer, talked about the importance of adding “Listen” and “Learn” into the conference’s theme (“Engage and Deliver”). She referenced the recent release of the new CDC HIV incidence data and noted that we could have addressed this earlier if we had listened to and learned from some of the communities hardest hit by the epidemic—men who have sex with men and African Americans. Sandra also stressed the importance of working across disciplines, forming private and public partnership, spending time in the communities we are trying to reach, and most importantly, “keeping a passion for doing what we do.”

Speaking of passion - we’ve received lots of comments on our post about the new HIV incidence data being a “wake-up” call. To all our commentors, thank you! We’re thrilled to have this dialogue - and look forward to hearing more from you in the days and weeks to come.

We also want to thank our CDC colleagues for hosting an informative conference! Check out the CDC’s new Facebook Group “Health Communication, Marketing, and Media Exit Disclaimer” and The Healthiest Nation Alliance Exit Disclaimer.

August 12, 2008


International AIDS Conference: New Media and the AIDS Community - Some Good News

Last week, we "twittered" Exit Disclaimer from the International AIDS Conference (IAC) Exit Disclaimer, and we planned to talk about that this week. We were struck, however, by our conversations on new media with IAC delegates and we decided to write about what we learned at the conference instead. (Stay tuned for more on Twitter soon!)

From the plenary Exit Disclaimer on the future of the global pandemic to AIDS.gov's conversations with a cross-section of the 23,000+ IAC delegates in Mexico City, the topic of new media kept popping up. In that plenary session, Dr. Peter Piot Exit Disclaimer, director of UNAIDS Exit Disclaimer (and one of the leading voices in developing HIV/AIDS policy worldwide), acknowledged the importance of new media in meeting the challenge of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Piot explicitly mentioned Facebook and text messaging as important tools in carrying messages about HIV/AIDS--but he was one of the few who did.

“It is time that prevention programs embrace Facebook, texting, all the communication means, the new information technology that young people are using. It is not by billboards that we are going to introduce social change and personal behavior change on a large scale.” Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS

At our poster session on AIDS.gov, and in informal interviews throughout the weeklong conference, we asked people from all different sectors (government, community-based and faith-based organizations, the private sector, and academia) if, and how, they are using new media in response to HIV/AIDS. Their responses showed a common theme:

Everyone thinks using new media to offer HIV prevention, testing, and treatment messages is a great idea, but very few have made the leap to integrating new media consistently into their daily work or planning.
Photo of Miguel Gomez and Dr. Hazel Dean

AIDS.gov poster session: Miguel Gomez, Director of AIDS.gov, and Dr. Hazel Dean, Deputy Director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

For those who said they were working on new media initiatives, they recognized that work as a priority. Several organizations, including amfAR Exit Disclaimer and GMHC Exit Disclaimer, were planning rollouts or redesigns of their websites in the near future.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Exit Disclaimer was the major new media presence at the conference. KFF provided webcasts Exit Disclaimer for all of the major IAC sessions, as well as interviews with many of the most prominent policymakers and activists in the AIDS community.

There were plenty of bloggers at the conference. Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) Exit Disclaimer sponsored AIDS2008.com Exit Disclaimer, an independent community resource for the 2008 IAC, which included blogs Exit Disclaimer from many conference attendees. In addition, a Google blog search Exit Disclaimer yields over 60,000 mentions of the IAC.

Despite these high-profile new media efforts, however, almost everyone we talked to stressed that the use of new media in response to HIV/AIDS is in its infancy. The overwhelming consensus of the delegates was that the AIDS community lags behind in using new media, and that we need to catch up and learn how to use new media tools quickly.

There was a lot of interest in new media from many of those on the front lines. The AIDS.gov team attended a fascinating session titled Reaching Millions--Youth, AIDS, and the Digital Age. The panelists were all young AIDS activists who are using the Internet and cell phones to reach and support young people at risk for, or living with, HIV/AIDS in some of the world’s most affected regions.

All of the interest generated by these sessions, and the enthusiastic response to our interviews, led us to believe that there is a need for a conference on AIDS and New Media. Stay tuned as we attempt to make it happen!

August 05, 2008


A Wake-up Call for All of Us: How Can New Media Help?

“The estimates from our nation’s new HIV incidence Exit Disclaimer surveillance system reveal that the HIV epidemic is- and has been- worse than previously known. The recent U.S. HIV statistics are a wake-up call to all of us in the United States to have authentic conversations about what we need to be doing to end this epidemic within our lifetimes.” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

XVII International AIDS Conference.  3-8 August 2008 | Mexico City

This announcement was made before the opening session of the International AIDS Conference (IAC), which is being held in Mexico City this week. The theme of the conference is “Universal Action Now!“, and more than 26,000 people are meeting to discuss effective medical, policy, and program responses to HIV.

The AIDS.gov team asked the first question at Monday’s opening plenary session, “How can new media (blogs, social networks, text messaging, etc.) be used to impact the state of HIV?” The panel was encouraging and had a few suggestions. At the conference, there are a handful of sessions about new media and a desire among participants to learn more.

So, we need your help! Please send your suggestions, questions, or advice about using new media in response to HIV/AIDS. We’ll do our best to make sure your voice is heard, both during and after the conference.

Submit comments to this blog, write us an e-mail at contact@AIDS.gov, or follow us on Twitter* at:


*We’ll be Twittering throughout the week of the IAC. Visit our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/AIDSbooth Exit Disclaimer. Maybe sign up for an account yourself! If you’re not familiar with Twitter, don’t worry--we’ll be writing about it next week.

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