We want to highlight conferences because these events can contribute to the dialogue on the effective use of new media. Many of these conferences are free or offer scholarships and volunteer opportunities in exchange for conference fees.
We found the messages coming out of three recent conferences, University of California San Francisco's Center for AIDS Prevention Studios (CAPS) Conference, PodCamp NYC, and the Web 2.0 Expo, useful as we plan our work. Here are some highlights:
At the CAPS Conference: New Directions in HIV Prevention, there was a presentation on an HIV prevention video game by Marguerita Lightfoot.
She noted that the video game was adapted from an intervention called Project LIGHT. The video includes health information, triggers impacting unsafe sexual behavior, and opportunities to practice communication skills. Lightfoot involved students ages 14 to 18 years of age in developing the video game. She said, "They helped make it relevant using their own words."
Dr. Lightfoot explained that youth were engaged in the video game and felt the computer was not judging them, unlike their peers often do. Other outcomes from the video game group, as compared with the small group and control group, included a reported decrease in sexual behavior and number of sex partners.
In two weeks we will expand on the topic of gaming.
At PodCamp NYC , many talked about the importance of trust and authenticity in using new media successfully. At the session on "Finding Your New Media Voice," Laura "Pistachio" Fitton said, "Don't do social media for the numbers. Do it to connect to the people who are important to you." Fitton and Chris Brogan reinforced the importance of being useful, human, and authentic. By doing so, people will be engaged, and trust you and your message.
L. Johnson Martin Pratt's session, "Reaching African Americans Online," reinforced the message that we need to be authentic. He gave examples of many online websites and communities that identify with their target audience by not trying to be anything else than who they really are.
The Web 2.0 Expo is a large industry expo and conference. While it may not have a direct linkage to our work in HIV/AIDS, walking the expo floor and attending the keynotes is a good way to hear from many new media key players and hear the buzz about the latest new media tools. Many of the Web 2.0 Expo speakers' presentations are available online.
We encourage you to consider attending the CDC's 2nd Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media which will be held August 12-14, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jennie Anderson, HIV.gov Director of Communications noted that last year's conference, "was a great opportunity for both novices and experts working on HIV/AIDS prevention and other public health topics to learn about the many facets of health communication, marketing, and media."
Don't forget to check out our new list of conferences and help us keep up to date!