Thursday, August 29

Still Hooked on Social Media...

 Four years after the 2009 Annual Skills Building Institute for HIV Testing and Awareness Day Events and Campaigns, I am still... "hooked on social media ". The Institute's "Using New Media in Response to HIV/AIDS" workshops were conducted by Miguel Gomez (Director, and Senior Communications Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, HHS), Michelle Samplin-Salgado (New Media Strategist,, and Ian Anderson (President & COO Smart + Strong). Needless to say, the existence of is essential to the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The team's presence at an April "community discussion" in Baltimore, MD was a timely reminder. April is the anniversary month of my first meeting with various team members and my official "hooked on social media" moment in 2009.

Although I had been using various online media platforms since 1997 starting with SixDegrees, the very first online social networking service, I officially got "hooked on social media" at the 2009 Annual Skills Building Institute for HIV Testing and Awareness Day Events and Campaigns sponsored by NAPWA,, and Smart+Strong (POZ Magazine). The Institute was a component of NAPWA’s “Mobilized to Succeed” initiative. It provided an opportunity to explore the basics and uses of new media (and social media) in response to HIV/AIDS. If you are a bit confused about "new media" and "social media", Britt Michaelian (Founder and Editor, Work Smart Mompreneurs and Work Smart Lifestyle) does a great job explaining the difference between "new media" and "social media". Professionally, the Institute mobilized me to use new media and social media tools for capacity and community building in response to HIV/AIDS. The "engagement and connecting" aspects of the social media "conversation" hooked me!

After my very first and second "tweets" at the Skills Building Institute, my comfort level increased with each Twitter conversations! In fact, my participation at the 2009 Annual Skills Building Institute for HIV Testing and Awareness Day Events and Campaigns was a major turning point in how I inform, network, connect, share, and collaborate as a member of the health service provider community. The Institute provided a powerful toolkit of new media tools which enhanced my "thinking out of the box" approach for public and community health. My passion to provide capacity building, technical assistance, and training through social media and 3D virtual worlds lead to the launching of Community HIV/AIDS Resource Exchange (CHARE) Project and Community Health Technology Resource Exchange (CHeTARE) Project in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

 In 2009, the Skills Building Institute introduced several channels for HIV/AIDS awareness and health education "conversations". In 2013, I am still engaging, connecting, and communicating with the use of new media especially social media. The learning experience in 2009 fuels my passion and guides my mission. New media (and social media) is too valuable to leave on the shelf and out of our local, national, and international response to HIV/AIDS. 

 You are encouraged to embrace relevant new and social media in your response to HIV/AIDS. Please note that an updated New Media Toolkit is now available on

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