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More and more foundations are using social media to advance their goals. It’s rare, though, when these efforts fall to program staff to implement. Yet, at the Connecticut Health Foundation, that’s exactly the role Elizabeth Krause, senior program officer, is playing (with help from her communications colleagues) as she oversees an initiative to use social media to build public will to address racial and ethnic health care disparities in her state.
During the course of her conversation with Communications Network contributor Susan Herr, Krause describes the initiative, as well as the challenges and opportunities it presents, and what the foundation hopes to accomplish.
There’s probably never been a time like the present when we’ve been so bombarded — some might say overwhelmed — with stories. In addition to traditional means of storytelling — newspapers, books, radio, television, movies, etc. — the internet and social media have given birth to an endless stream of stories to sift through.
If your job involves storytelling, does it make a difference whether you tell yours in print or video form? Is there something that makes the way we tell stories likely to have a greater impact — especially so we remember what we read, see or hear so we can take action on what we learned or pass it on to someone else?
“I believe that every communicator had better be deeply invested in and have a very strong understanding of web technology and social media. I don’t think you can do your job any longer if you don’t.”
That’s what Teresa Detrich, who directs electronic outreach at the Lumina Foundation for Education, told me in the most recent episode of the Communications Network’s diavlog series (below.) When I asked what it takes to develop such understanding, Teresa didn’t pull any punches. “You have to be passionate. It has to be your avocation. You have to work weekends.”
Back in August, the following post ran about the very successful media efforts being taken to call attention to the film, The Cove, last night’s Oscar winner for best documentary about the senseless slaughter of dolphins in a cove located off the coast of Japan. As noted in the post, like the film itself, the making of it and the subsequent promotion, provided an opportunity to raise the public’s knowledge of this senseless — but preventable — tragedy. The post is reprinted again as a reminder of the power of film — especially when tied to a well-planned communications effort — to get people to act. Perhaps the film’s real test, buoyed by the Oscar win, is yet to come. Set to open shortly for the first time in Japan, where it has yet to be seen by the public, the filmmakers have high hopes. Former dolphin trainer, turned activist, Ric O’Barry, who is featured in The Cove, predicts that ”When the film is seen in Japan, it will shut ‘the cove’ down permanently.”
Last month, The Joyce Foundation hosted a panel that looked at the ways advocacy groups are successfully harnessing the power of new media strategies and tactics, including microtargeting, social networking, and online community building, to identify and mobilize supporters to advance their issues and causes.