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New York State Department of Health: Breaking Ground in New Media Response to HIV and STIs


By Michelle Samplin-Salgado, New Media Strategist, and Michele Clark, Managing Director (Cross-posted from's blog

AIDS Institute Department of Health Social Media Forum staff
AIDS Institute Department of Health Social Media Forum staff (L to R): Sonja Noring, Howard Lavigne, Dr. Cheryl Smith, Mark Hammer, Johanne Morne, Wanda Jones-Robinson, Peter Laqueur, Humberto Cruz (AIDS Institute Director), Ben Wise, Jeffrey Karaban, Dr. Bruce Agins.
Earlier this month, we participated in the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute's forum, Social Media: Going Viral Against HIV and STIs Exit Disclaimer. The room was filled with nearly 300 public health colleagues from across New York who were there to learn and share how they use social media in response to HIV.
The day started with a welcome by two of the AIDS Institute leaders pioneering social media responses to HIV, Dr. Cheryl Smith, Associate Medical Director and Humberto Cruz, Director. New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) Commissioner, Dr. Richard Daines, then highlighted the importance of reaching people through new media platforms. Using the flu epidemic as an example, he shared the NYS DOH's flu prevention campaign example where avideo was developed Exit Disclaimer, and viewers were encouraged to share the message through their social networking sites.
Miguel Gomez, Director of, moderated a morning session about transforming health communication. Lee Aase, Manager of The Mayo Clinic's Center for Social Media Exit Disclaimer and Social Media University, Global (SMUG) Exit Disclaimer entertained the crowd with examples of how new media tools enable patients to connect and share their stories and experiences at the Mayo Clinic.Susannah Fox Exit Disclaimer from the Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer presented findings about social media and health information seeking. She also wrote a nice recap blog post about the conference Exit Disclaimer.

We also heard from Lily Williamson of MTV Networks, about MTV's campaign, A Thin Line Exit Disclaimer, that aims to understand and address safety and security online. And Christine Quinn of the New York City Council presented on the I Talk Because Exit Disclaimer campaign. Eight programs highlighted their hands-on new media and HIV or STI programs in the city, ranging from HIV testing campaigns among youth to audio podcasts to educate New York police about needle and syringe laws and safety.
Afternoon sessions allowed for more in-depth dialogue about social networking: blogs and microblogs, multimedia filesharing, and mobile applications with short presentations by programs across the country. In the closing session, "Implementing a Social Media Campaign", Bradley Jobling, Social Media Manager for the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Surgery Exit Disclaimer, shared his experience using social media to increase attendance at events and online fundraising. Diane Brodalski, contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), summarized the contents of the new Health Communicator's Social Media Toolkit [PDF 3.76MB], and underscored the importance of organizations developing a strategy before selecting the new media tool. Rachel Kachur from the CDC, showed the audience how the multimedia Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Exit Disclaimer STD campaign used available analytics and STD clinic testing data to evaluate their efforts.
We left the conference inspired by program examples in New York and beyond, and with several resources to draw upon--from panelists, to conference participants, to online social media tools to develop or refine organizations' social media strategy in response to HIV. Here is a brief video clip of interviews with three of the many speakers:
You can watch archived webcasts Exit Disclaimer of the conference on their site.

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Going Forward (With Appreciation to Those Who Got Us Here)


We in the AIDS Institute are brimming with gratitude—and yes, maybe even with a bit of pride—over the success of Social Media: Going Viral Against HIV and STIs.  Thank you partners ( and the New York State HIV Clinical Education Initiative), supporters (including the Kaiser Family Foundation) and presenters for making the day such a hit.  And thanks also to the forum’s attendees.  You filled the Kimmel Center with your enthusiasm and with your commitment for improved engagement with clients, patients and communities.  I’d like to think that there was a similar vibe among those who viewed the event remotely.  

New York State, since the earliest days of the HIV epidemic, has been a leader in prevention and care. The lessons learned at the forum and the strategic integration of social media by providers throughout the State will strengthen that role.

We are working on several “next steps” to ensure that the forum’s momentum continues.  Video recordings of the entire event will be available for viewing at this site very soon.  This will include sessions not webcast on the day of the forum. Please check back with us in the next week or so. We will also be sharing a summary of the evaluations from the forum.

Oh, and did I mention that this blog will continue?  Well it will.  And we really, really want to hear from you.

Socially yours,
Mark Hammer

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Have I Got News for You!


News on social media is pervasive. Buzz begets buzz, and sometimes the noise can be deafening.  Fortunately there are several good sources for news on social media which not only bring some order to this rapidly evolving world, but do so with entertaining reportage and sometimes even a smidgen of hipness.  Today I’ll highlight two of them: Mashable and ReadWriteWeb.

If significant things are happening in social media, these two blogs will report on them. ReadWriteWeb has been doing so since 2003, which, in the context of social media, was practically Paleolithic; and Mashable got its start in 2007, which roughly equates to the Bronze Age.  Their coverage is wide-ranging and includes the latest twist on Facebook’s dance with privacy issues; what is trending on Twitter; which handheld device is all the rage; and how not-for-profit organizations are leveraging the new tools to improve the world we live in.

ReadWriteWeb is arguably more corporate in its approach, and Mashable is more edgy.  Both, however, are worth exploring to see if they match your interests and temperament.  And lots of folks read them indeed.  According to Technorati, which reports on the blogosphere, Mashable and ReadWriteWeb are consistently ranked in the top ten for all technology blogs.

I tend to read most of my news on a mobile device these days. Mashable has apps for both Android- and Apple-powered handhelds.  Even though ReadWriteWeb doesn’t have a mobile app (yet), it does have a web site optimized for these devices: 

Excuse me while I catch up on some news.  And feel free to leave a comment on what your sources are for news on social media.

Mark Hammer

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Something To Be SMUG About


In the last two blog postings, I mentioned a couple of resources to expand your understanding of social media: and The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit.  I’ve heard from a few of you that these resources are proving very helpful and that you’d like to have additional, practical guidance on how to proceed with social media.  You’d also like some assurance that you can do so without mortgaging the farm. Today’s featured resource—Social Media University, Global (SMUG)—responds to those interests and is certain to have a particularly strong appeal to those for whom humor and self-paced learning are important.

SMUG is a tuition-free, virtual post-secondary learning institution focusing exclusively on social media. Like its brick-and-mortar counterparts, it has level-designated courses; a faculty; a student union (of the Facebook variety) ; a bookstore; an insignia (whose Latin motto translated means, “It’s not that hard.”); and a campus (well, sort of).  SMUG is the brainchild and passion of its Chancellor, Lee Aase (pronounced: “A.C.”), who is also the Manager of Syndication and Social Media at The Mayo Clinic. Mr. Aase will be joining us as a presenter at Going Viral against HIV and STIs. I’m sure he’d be delighted to find some SMUGgles—as SMUG students are known—among the forum attendees.    

One of the things I love about SMUG is that students can go as deeply and as broadly into the subject matter as they choose.  The core curriculum, which has 15 courses, is complemented by in-depth, specialized tracks on blogging, Facebook, podcasting, Twitter, and Yammer.  There’s something here for everyone.

If you want to see what well-honed social media smarts can do, check out The Mayo Clinic’s blogs and podcasts. You may also want to subscribe to’s RSS feeds.

Happy learning!

Mark Hammer

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This Week's Featured Resource


In last week’s blog, I mentioned that one of our goals in hosting Going Viral against HIV and STIs is to share resources that can assist organizations as they plan, implement and evaluate social media.  To whet your appetite, you were encouraged to visit, our forum co-sponsor, and to explore its new media resources.  While you are at, visit that site’s blog where Jeff Crowley, Ron Valdiserri, Kevin Fenton, Howard Koh, Miguel Gomez and others reflect on HIV, new media, policy and research.  Miguel, who is’s Director, has been very helpful in planning for the forum; and we are honored to have him as one of the presenters on December 7th.

Today’s featured resource is The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit.  Although this Toolkit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Electronic Media Branch is intended for a beginner audience, those with an intermediate knowledge of social media are likely to benefit as well. 

This Social Media Toolkit has the following elements:

  • An Introduction to Social Media. Here, in addition to an overview on social media, you will find helpful tips and resources for developing a structure, policies and leadership that can manage the new media. This section also contains ten lessons learned by the CDC’s social media team based on over four years of experience with these media.

  • The Specific Social Media Tools.  This section contains abundant resources, examples and best practices to help the reader understand each of the following tools: buttons and badges, image sharing, content syndication, RSS feeds, podcasts, online video sharing, widgets, eCards, electronic games, mobile health, micro-blogs, blogs, social networking sites, and virtual worlds.

  • An Example of a Social Media Campaign. This section of the Toolkit explains how various media were integrated into a multi-prong, coordinated social media response to the 2009 – 2010 H1N1 and seasonal flu outbreak. 

  • A One-Page Listing of Social Media Resources.  If you are already rolling with social media, you are likely to be familiar with several of the ten listed web-linked resources. If you’re a newbie, prepare for a marvelous voyage.

  • A Social Media Communications Strategy Worksheet.  This three-page tool will help your organization define its potential social media audiences and choose the appropriate messages and media for engaging them.  This is called a worksheet for a reason.  It’s work!  But if you take completing the worksheet seriously, you will have a better understanding of what roles social media can play in your organization.

  • A Social Media Evaluation Worksheet.  If you are allergic to logic models, you might find this section of the Toolkit to be challenging.  Evaluation, however, is essential.  If you can’t demonstrate something’s worth, there will always be someone to question its value. Bon courage!

Well that’s more than enough to chew on for today.  Please feel free post a comment.  And sharing this blog with your friends and colleagues is always welcome.

Mark Hammer

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Social Media: Going Viral Against HIV and STIs Forum Blog


On December 7, 2010, the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute is breaking significant new ground in hosting the first forum ever convened specifically focusing on the use of social media for HIV and STI prevention and care.  This one-day event, Going Viral against HIV and STIs, may be a game-changer for some participants (and by that I don’t mean Farmville supplanting Monopoly as parlor entertainment).  Everyone joining us at New York University’s Kimmel Center will be able to have a deeper understanding of how these media can be strategically harnessed to address HIV and STIs.  We encourage you to shout out about the forum in tweets and in blogs so that executive directors, administrators, and communications specialists know about this event and register immediately.  The registration response so far has been robust.  We don’t want those who could really benefit from this event to be shut out.

One of our goals in hosting this forum is to share resources that can assist organizations as they plan, implement and evaluate social media.  Periodically in this blog—both before and after the forum—we will highlight some of those resources.

One extraordinary resource very deserving of mention in our first blog is, the co-sponsor of the forum.  Not only does that site (and site doesn’t begin to do it justice) share timely HIV-related information from a Federal perspective (its content and support spans virtually every agency and office in the Department of Health and Human Services), but it has a special focus on the role of new media and HIV. Your time will be well-spent exploring’s new media resources, where you will learn about “opportunities to CONNECT, COLLABORATE, CREATE and ENGAGE around HIV/AIDS.”  These resources are also an excellent pre-forum primer.

A word or two is in order on terminology. generally refers to the media that will be the focus of our forum as “new media.”  Some “new media” because of their interactivity may be referred to as “social media.”  Making the distinction between the social and the non-social new media can be mind-numbing. If a blog doesn’t allow comments, is it truly social???? Yikes!  So for our purposes, we are putting new and social media together and use the terms interchangeably.  And quite frankly, “new” is getting older every day.  If you are interested in how the contributors to Wikipedia fall on this subject, you can check out their articles on Social Media and New Media.

Come back to this site regularly, not just for these blogs, but also for agenda and speaker updates, and yes—for those resources.

I look forward to seeing some of you at the forum.

Mark Hammer

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