Our “Making Choices” strategy blog series explores ways to develop an effective new media plan that considers available resources, integrates with existing services, and uses the right tools for the job. Part I of this series discussed the first step of designing a new media strategy: identifying audiences and needs.
Part II: How To Choose?
Decision-making processes such as POST uses new media in several of the following ways to reinforce traditional media and make tangible materials more readily available:
- The Nationwide Community Events Map offers a low-bandwidth yet interactive way to find out about National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events in each state.
- The Social Marketing page, in addition to featuring a PSA video hosted on Google Video, also offers downloadable posters (such as the one to the right), customized for various Native audiences, that can be printed out for posting in high traffic areas.
- The Native Youth section includes links to various multimedia materials, including DVDs, PowerPoint presentations, and online curricula such as “No Place Like Home...for Sex Education - Native American Edition”, which provides age-appropriate, family-based sexuality education for home instruction, adapted for Native community needs.
The Old Is New Again
We know that cell phone usage is wide-spread, the technical barriers to using texting are very low, and participants can exchange text messages relatively privately — even in a public place. Therefore, when considering how to provide HIV testing information quickly and easily, text messaging stood out as appropriate technology. For World AIDS Day 2007, the Kaiser Family Foundation, CDC, and HIV.gov collaborated to launch the KNOWIT text messaging campaign to help people identify their local HIV testing sites. It may be surprising to hear traditional text messaging characterized as “new media” — the technology has been in use over a decade and doesn't include “social networking” or “Web 2.0” features. In fact, it doesn't even require a computer. However, text messaging proves to be the appropriate technology to meet a vital community need.
Let audiences and needs guide your choice of tools — avoid the trap of letting alluring new technologies push project development. In fact, an essential part of a new media strategy is deciding what tools not to use. And take into account the unique culture, environment and resources of the community you serve in selecting the right tool for the job.