I've been spending a lot of time lately discussing ways for people to get involved in HIV/AIDS activism and ways for ASOs to tap into this reserve of "slacktivists" who are not lax by choice, but because of pre-existing time and distance constraints. I truly believe that there is absolutely no reason why someone who wants to be involved, should not be involved in some way. Likewise, I believe that there is absolutely no reason for ASOs to not be present and accounted for on social media. I also believe that ASOs can and should have control over their own web presence and content. Why? Because it is just so darn easy.
To expand on my piece, "Getting Savvy About Social Media," here are some more suggestions of organizations you should follow, websites you should join, and things you can do to get the ball rolling.
As previously mentioned, accounts catering to just about any interest exist on Twitter and of course AIDS activism is no exception.
For example, here in Canada, HIV/AIDS among our First Peoples is a huge issue (They are 10 times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than any other ethnic group in Canada), however, it can be hard to know where to start, and how to get involved. To this end there are at least two great Twitter accounts dedicated to the fight against AIDS in First Nations communities:
- CAAN_says -- the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network located in Vancouver BC
- MFNAWG -- the Manitoba First Nations AIDS Working Group
There are other provincial initiatives on Twitter:
- AIDSNB -- AIDS New Brunswick
- theohtn -- The Ontario HIV Treatment Network
- Sombrerogood -- Sexual Health Education, Information & Knowledge (Lower Mainland, BC)
- Vital Wave (Vancouver, BC)
For all my readers in the U.S., there are also American ASOs online, they include:
My favorite Facebook page, The Red Ribbon Army, is also on Twitter.
Of course you can follow me, staybloomin on Twitter, as well. All accounts mentioned above are frequently updated and many regularly engage with their followers.
Many AIDS Walks are represented on Twitter, you can find the ones I've found on my list here. I am planning on putting together more lists to highlight more of the awesome Twitter-verse that is dedicated to discussing and ending AIDS.
Which brings me to another point, lists. Twitter allows you to make lists and then share them with others. The longer you are on Twitter, the more frequently you tweet about a specific topic, the more followers you get (which again, doesn't happen overnight), the more likely you are to be added to a list. This is great. First, it's a chance for you to connect with like-minded people you might not otherwise find. Second, it's a great opportunity for like-minded people to find you. Basically, win-win.
You can check out the lists I'm featured on here.
If you can get past Facebook's atrocious record in the privacy arena, it really is a great site to meet and interact with activists.
Of course there is The Red Ribbon Army page, but there are groups you can join, too.
Pages you may want to "like" include:
- CANFAR Dalhousie
- RiseUpToHIV by fellow TheBody.com blogger Kevin Maloney
- The Ontario HIV Treatment Network
Also, many activists on Facebook allow you to subscribe to them. I do.
Please don't forget that you can follow ASOs and activists from countries, provinces and states other than your own. Just because you aren't local doesn't mean you won't have something valuable to contribute to the discussion, and it doesn't mean that another ASO or activist can't inspire you in your own activism.
I really love this website. It enables people from all over the world, all walks of life, to affect change, and it only takes a minute. Sign up or connect through Facebook and start signing petitions for causes you care about. They have an awesome success rate ... and were recently featured in an article by Nicholas Kristof that appeared in The New York Times.
Finally, again with ASOs and websites.
I cannot stress enough how easy Wordpress and Tumblr are to use, maintain and customize. Tumblr has the added benefits of being totally free (unless you decide to go with a premium theme in which case there is a one-time fee of either $9, $19 or $49USD), it has a young, vibrant community, and seriously -- it is super quick and easy to update.
The internet is constantly changing. Like it or not that means you have to constantly change, too. Last year's events have got to go from your front page. Replace them with this year's. If you want to display pictures from one, Tumblr is particularly well suited to this, but that is also what a Flickr widget is for. And Flickr accounts are free with an option to upgrade to premium.
Sadly, websites move. Make sure you have current links.
Last but not least, mailing lists are a great way to keep people up to date with your activities, events and yearly donation campaigns. But, only the people who subscribe get these updates. This is another excellent reason your website needs to be up to date.
What do all these suggestions have in common? They are free, with optional bells and whistles which are yours for a nominal one-time, or yearly fee. This is important to me because ASOs are already pretty strapped for cash and here I am encouraging them to say goodbye to their glitzy websites that they cannot update themselves. As well, they are super easy to use, which is great.
Just remember: out of sight, out of mind. Update and do it regularly.
Let's talk. If you'd like to discuss how you put these ideas to work, how about dropping me an email?