Youth must drive the use of the technology and the messages that are sent is because of how quickly technology changes and how quickly young people adopt and then discard new media technologies. Also, the way an adult thinks is a good way to reach a teen, may not be effective in any way. So, it’s very important if health care providers want to use these technologies that they continuously survey youth about their use and involve the youth in developing health related programs that use new technologies.I have a small project with a North Minneapolis organization, Youth Determined to Succeed, to implement a social media program for them. YDS was founded by Melvin Anderson, an ex pro football player, to address the obesity epidemic among urban youth. It has several components now-Kids 4 Health (nutrition, exercise, lifestyle program for obese and overweight youth and their families), Brooklyn Center Institute (a similar program at Brooklyn Center HS Recreational Center), a leadership program, Youth Leaders of Change, and Track MN (an elite track program). Working with a social media strategy development and implementation company, SocialNicole, to ask YDS participants about what type of social media can be used to be most effectively spread the message of YDS.
The youth in the YDS focus groups recommended the use of videos as one tool to get the YDS message out to a broader audience. You can easily use videos in your work with youth, because having an interesting video is more important than highly produced video. On my site, I have uploaded videos I “produced” using my cell phone. This is one that many teens and parents have commented on and laughed about.
Preliminary resultsSocialNicole has developed a preliminary strategy based on this focus group and we will then refine it by meeting again with the youth and then implement it.6 males, 8 females13-18 yearsGrades: 8th to collegeSocial media they use: Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Gmail, Facetime, Skype, text messagesTo get YDS message out: Facebook and TwitterTwitter: must be inspiring tweets, don’t retweet, don’t recycle tweets, no more then 3-12 tweets per day Use Instagram for before and after picturesUse YouTube for training videos, PSAs
Text messaging has also been used by Teensource in California. Teensource works to improve the health and well-being of young people in California by providing sexual and reproductive health information and resources. They implemented a text messaging program, “hookup,” that sends out sexual health texts each week and also helps youth access sexual health services. The interesting part about Teensource and “hookup” is that an evaluation was done to determine whether this new media communication-based work has changed health behavior. It has been determined that youth will access health resources that use new media strategies, now for the next question--does the use of new media tools impact adolescent health outcomes?
YDS focus groups
• 6 males, 8 females
• 13-18 years
• Grades: 8th to college
• Social media they use: Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat,
Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Gmail, Facetime,
Skype, text messages
• To get YDS message out: Facebook and Twitter
• Twitter: must be inspiring tweets, don’t retweet, don’t
recycle tweets, no more then 3-12 tweets per day
• Use Instagram for before and after pictures
• Use You Tube for training videos, PSAs