Creating Online Communities As a Strategic Communications Practice: Cases From Aarp, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and Smokey Bear

Tuesday, August 20, 2013: 3:45 PM-5:15 PM
Centennial I/II
People have been creating online communities since the early days of the web from news groups and listservs to forums. Social media has only amplified the reach of online communities beyond one website across different networks. Many health-related non-profit organizations want to create community as a part of their campaigns. But what does this really mean? What kind of long-term investment and resources does it require? Can you create pop-up communities for campaigns with an expiration date? How do you measure success? This panel will share the perspectives of four prominent national organizations that are highly active in creating online communities, each working on four very different social issues: AARP (Caregiving), IAVA (Veterans), NAMI (Mental Illness) and wildfire prevention with Smokey Bear. Each panelist will describe their organizationís approach to creating community, provide a brief case study of what has worked and what didnít in their own communities, and describe how they measured effectiveness. The focus will be on sharing lessons learned that other health communications organizations, large and small, can apply to their own work.

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