World AIDS Day is in less than a week (December 1)! In addition to our Bloggers Unite and Second Life activities, AIDS.gov invites you to join us in using social networks to help reduce stigma around HIV/AIDS and to promote HIV testing.
Why use social networks? Many people are already using social network sites to share information about issues that are important to them. For example, (Product) RED’s, MySpace page has over half a million friends and has another 100,000 fans on Facebook . MySpace created MySpace Impact , “a channel for the causes and campaigns MySpace users care about.” Facebook Causes , created by Project Agape , were developed to organize people for collective action – and Causes is now on Myspace as well. According to Facebook, “the real power of Causes… is that supporters of the cause can easily multiply their impact by inviting their friends to join and donate to the cause.”
How is AIDS.gov using social networks for World AIDS Day? We’ve launched the “Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day” campaign. It’s simple – take a photo of yourself wearing a red ribbon and, on World AIDS Day, put the photo on your social networking site (such as Facebook or MySpace), blog, Twitter page, or website. We also have web badges that you can share with your friends and colleagues.
What is the response to Facing AIDS so far?
We have been watching our web badges spread on the Internet, and seen the number of photos grow in our World AIDS Day Flickr Group . People have been tagging the geographic location on Flickr – which shows the locations from which they are uploading their photos – so we can see a map of supporters joining together.
In addition, several of our Federal colleagues, such as those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of Minority Health, and the Office on Women’s Health are getting the word out by adding the “Facing AIDS” web badges to their websites. Others, such as the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration, have featured the event in their newsletters. Many of our Twitter friends are retweeting about the campaign, and we are encouraging people to use the hashtag #WAD08 in their tweets so we can watch the conversation grow.
We’ve also seen the numbers of our recently launched “Facing AIDS World AIDS Day ” Facebook Group grow. And several of our avatar friends from Second Life have posted photos, too!
With one week left until World AIDS Day, will you join us in Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day 2008? If so, here’s how you can take action in five easy steps:
STEP 1: Take a photo of yourself wearing a red ribbon. No camera or time to take a photo? Instead, you can select one of our web badges (or any other red ribbon image).
STEP 2: Add the photo (or badge) to your social network profiles, Twitter, and/or blog in time for World AIDS Day. Leave it up for at least one week. Don’t have a profile in any of these places? No problem! You can go directly to Step 3.
STEP 3: Add your photo to the “World AIDS Day 08” Flickr group ! If you tag the photo with your geographic location, together we can make a map and album of supporters around the world.
STEP 4: Use your wall, status, tweets or website to encourage HIV testing. To find an HIV testing site near you (in the U.S.), send a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) or visit: http://www.hivtest.org .
STEP 5: Encourage your friends to do the same and to promote HIV testing!
We hope you will join us in using new media tools to recognize World AIDS Day 2008! Are you planning or participating in other World AIDS Day new media activities? If so, please let us know! And check back next week for a special World AIDS Day post.