“Hashtag” was the word of the year in 2012, and we’ve seen its use expand from Twitter to Instagram, Facebook, Vine, and other social networks in the last few years. Hashtags link unique keywords and phrases with the “#” symbol, allowing conversations to be more organized and searchable across social network users. We commonly use hashtags during conferences and Twitter chats, and you may have seen them advertised while watching TV shows or commercials. As our new media specialist Michelle Samplin-Salgado wrote on the blog, “adding a hashtag to your tweet, caption, update, or comment helps connect your message to the larger conversation. It makes social media social within and across platforms.”
On and around, World AIDS Day, people across the world speak out about the impact of HIV-related stigma, stress the importance of HIV testing and care, and call for an enhanced response to the pandemic. Our Facing AIDS photo sharing initiative provided a way for many of YOU to share your messages. (See more about Facing AIDS here.)
This year for World AIDS Day, we added the hashtag #FacingAIDS as another element to collect the messages that are part of the photo sharing initiative. We encouraged those talking about Facing AIDS to share their photo on their favorite social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) using hashtag #FacingAIDS.
The use of the hashtag helped us, too, to be able to use social networking to find your Facing AIDS messages. We compiled this Storify to showcase some of the ways that people across the country used #FacingAIDS to share their messages. We highly encourage you check it out here: http://storify.com/AIDSgov/facingaids-for-world-aids-day-2013 .
To those who joined #FacingAIDS this year, thank you. We are grateful for your involvement to promote HIV awareness. Though December 1 has come and gone, it’s never too late to join #FacingAIDS for World AIDS Day. We encourage you to use the hashtag year round.