I was recently reading Dr. R Craig Lefebvre’s blog post on social networks or mobile usage in health communication campaigns. And I couldn’t agree more with the major assessments.
In working with non-profits its hard to see past the fact that the audience you are serving is poor or maybe even negatively affected by the ‘digital divide’. But I’m skeptical that this divide even truly exists anymore. What the barrier is now, is what speed are they accessing content at – something that you need to be excruciatingly aware of in developing interactive content.
Many non-profits or community based campaigns may be able to raise funds for television, radio or print ads that feed into a web presence. But, if this web presence requires the use of flash players for content or other media rich content they may be a big fat waste of time.
Further, what good is media unless it has a purpose? Social media and mobile media can serve a purpose where general mainstream media may only serve to build awareness of an issue or of a free service. Beyond that, these venues are also a waste of money, time and usually the big fight it takes to pull them all together in a organization that fears bad press, transparency or change.
Social media, on the other hand allows for ownership of the campaign beyond what an organization can sustain. It provides a space for ideas, support and information sharing.
Mobile media provide updates for pertinent events and deadlines that may hinder your target from taking the actions that you would like them to for their own benefit. They also allow instant access to the social media platforms that you are creating for their use.
No matter what, groups targeting the hard to reach need to create something that will better the lives of their target – not push messages to them. People are already overly inundated as it is and can pick and choose more easily than ever which messages to turn off, avoid or dismiss. By providing content and platforms that integrate seamlessly into their already over-saturated media lives would serve any purpose – profit or not – best.