Going to PodCamp and Learning about Obligations

Content From: HIV.govPublished: April 29, 20084 min read


Photo of Miguel Gomez and Israil Ali at Podcamp DC

Last week, two members of the HIV.gov team went to PodCampExit Disclaimer in Washington, DC.

PodCamps are usually free unconferencesExit Disclaimer that offer a chance for new media users (such as bloggers, podcasters, and social networkers) to learn from experts and to engage in dialogue with each other. We want to thank the organizers: Christopher PennExit Disclaimer, Tammy MunsonExit Disclaimer, Joel WittExit Disclaimer, and Ernie Ambrose!

Note: For the basics on podcasting, please see our earlier post.


What did we learn at PodCamp?
Some of the country's leading new media experts like Jim LongExit Disclaimer and Andy CarvinExit Disclaimer reinforced messages that we all have the obligation to restate. If you are already podcasting (or thinking about it), we all must keep in mind that:

  • It's about users. Put people first, and give them the information they want, in the form they want it.
  • It's about content. It's easy to get caught up in the technology--but people use the technology to get to the content. You have to offer them useful information.
  • It's social. People like to consume and produce new media, but they also like to share it. They want to connect to other folks and engage in a dialogue.

Connecting with Leadership at PodCamp
At PodCamp, we talked about HIV.gov's obligation to ensure that our new media efforts help racial and ethnic minority communities increase their access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. Thanks to PodCamp, we met and spoke with Shireen Mitchell, the founder and Executive Director of Digital Sisters, Inc.Exit Disclaimer, an organization that focuses on using digital media and technology to access self-sufficiency tools for women and children who are traditionally underserved.

Shireen noted that some leaders may have misconceptions about use of new media among communities of color and how people connect. She says people interact in communities in which they are comfortable--and this means broadening new media efforts to reach people where they are.

"Social networks are not new," she says--noting that "people have always created social groups for pleasure and to exchange information. "It's the tools and technology that have changed." As with real estate, location is everything. "Not all people of color are on MySpace and Facebook," Shireen told us. "You might find us on MiGenteExit Disclaimer and BlackPlanetExit Disclaimer ." To be effective, you have to find the right venue, along with relevant content.

Thanks to leaders like Shireen and others, the conversation about new media and communities of color is increasing among new media experts.

Other Federal Representatives at PodCamp
While it's critical to talk about users, we also have to remember that many of our colleagues are still unfamiliar with new media tools, and some are hesitant to use them. At PodCamp, we were pleased to meet representatives from the Department of Commerce. We agreed that we have an obligation to do a better job of sharing how important new media tools are with our colleagues and senior managers. We also have to let our peers know about podcasts and other new media tools, and share information on who is using them.

Finally, PodCamp reminded us that we need to provide opportunities for our colleagues to learn about new media. PodCampsExit Disclaimer are just one of the many (often free) opportunities to learn about new media. Starting in May, this blog will carry a list of new media conferences.

We were introduced to (and reminded of) several resources that we'd like to share with you, as well:

Were you at Podcamp in DC? New York? We'd love to hear from you!