Looking Back: Lessons learned from the AIDS.gov team

Content From: HIV.govPublished: December 31, 20084 min read


This has been a busy year for HIV.gov! We have learned along with you about the potential of using new media to respond to HIV. You've told us how you are using new media - sharing the challenges you've faced and the lessons you've learned. This week we turn the tables - what have we learned this year? Here are some thoughts from the HIV.gov team:

Miguel Gomez, HIV.gov Director
I learned that many of my colleagues who are working on HIV/AIDS are in the same place I was a year ago - they can't define "new media" and they don't yet know how to use new media tools to improve their effectiveness. In fact, I've learned that we are all scrambling to catch up with a lot of our friends and family members who are living with HIV and who are already using new media tools to connect with each other. They are accessing information on HIV/AIDS from a variety of sources (e.g., blogs and the virtual world of Second Life) and using social network sites for support. The connections they make using new media tools help solve real-life problems and answer their questions about HIV/AIDS in an environment that often feels safe, informative, and free of stigma.

Michele Clark, HIV.gov Managing Director
I recognize the importance of a team approach in creating new media communications...including Federal partners, new media experts, communications specialists, and HIV community voices. And as the "voice" of the weekly HIV.gov blog podcasts, it's been fun participating in the creation process! This blog has been a great example of how we can "repurpose" content and information using different tools to reach different audiences.

Cathy Thomas, HIV.gov Technical Director
This year I learned that it is important to implement technology that adheres to the W3C standards for accessibility and proper coding, to focus on choosing a robust platform to support strategic growth, and to have metrics in place to evaluate the outcomes.

Jennie Anderson, HIV.gov Communications Director
I've learned about the power of new media as a health communication tool. I've enjoyed seeing how social networks, blogs, virtual worlds, text messaging, Twitter, and wikis can facilitate conversations and information exchange. I've also learned about the tremendous opportunities for integrating traditional and new media to strengthen our health marketing and communications efforts.

Deb LeBel, HIV.gov HIV/AIDS Awareness Days Director
As we heard new data about the epidemic, I realized - yet again - that we still need all the tools we can get. I look forward to continuing to learn with community members about emerging tools and how to integrate them appropriately in observing the 2009 National HIV/AIDS Awareness Days. These tools will help keep the dialogue going until the epidemic is over.

Michelle Samplin-Salgado, HIV.gov New Media Strategist
I continue to be inspired by the work of our colleagues and partners. This year I learned how powerful a simple acronym with a big meaning can be - POST (people, objectives, strategy, and technology)!

Andrew Wilson
I learned that social media is fundamentally about the connections that you make with other people. The tools and technology will evolve but the relationships you establish transcend the means by which you connect.

David Galiel, HIV.gov Advisor
This has been a year full of relearning the value of new media - at the personal, professional, national, and even global level. From witnessing the unprecedented use of social media and online communities to mobilize, engage and activate citizens in our democracy, to witnessing the global family of participants in World AIDS Day; the meaningful, measurable difference that appropriate new media tools and technologies can make in our daily work and our daily lives has never been more evident.Our challenge in 2009 will be to sharpen our focus and make the best use of these means in our response to HIV/AIDS.

What have you learned?