The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

Best Practices for Internet Outreach

On July 28, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition held a Webinar called ‘Best Practices for Internet Outreach.’

The webinar was presented by guest Ra’Shawn Flournoy, Internet Outreach Coordinator of AID Upstate-Greenville South Carolina

The Objective of the call was to understand how to engage youth in internet outreach and understanding the best practices for conducting outreach and what tools exist.

Flournoy provided some examples of how his organization reaches out to black MSM, and offers suggestions of how organizations can apply these tools and practices for their networking.

Sites commonly used by the LGBT community such as: twitter, facebook, adam4adam, manhunt, myspace, google and craigslist are great ways to reach out for the following ways:

They are AFFORDABLE – Though some sites charge fees, others are completely free to use

They are EFFECTIVE – Within the past 3 years, his organization reached hundreds of black MSM through internet outreach. Of these, over sixty have come in for counseling and testing.

They allow for CAPACITY building – Internet Outreach includes people across the country through webinars, social media, etc.

In performing Internet Outreach, BE AWARE

  • Ensure you are qualified to serve community in the way that you are attempting to do
  • Maintain focus with clients
  • Be self-aware: Are you comfortable with social media or the population you are serving?
  • Need to understand cultural competency to reach them

Great Tips

  • Be honest about purpose about presence on site
  • Make it personalized (use name and picture)
  • Give incentives (prizes for participation)
  • To reaching out to more marginalized individuals, bring in members of those community to do outreach

If you missed the presentation, go to NYAC’s website for slides and recording of the webinar. If you attended the webinar, their website also contains additional resources on reaching out to the LGBT community through social media.

by Emilia Dunham

Network for LGBT Tobacco Control Staff

July 30, 2010 Posted by | social media, Uncategorized, webinar | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s a superhero sized social media throwdown, can you help?

Mild mannered Gary Ploski

[UPDATE: It’s Wed morning 10 am EST and w00t!!! we just passed the 500 RT mark. Better start drawing that superhero calling  1-800-QUITNOW and slapping on his patch @supercoolagency!]

The topic: countering positive tobacco images in the media

The real superhero: Mild mannered actor/instructional technologist named Gary Ploski. aka @garyploski.

The bad guys: Nasty ad agency that names themselves Supercool Creative aka @supercoolagency. They create really cool viral videos to help shape opinions on the web. BUT — their supercoolness seems to be represented by the fact that their superman logo smokes a cig. Though word is, they might be tired of being bad guys.

The stage: Twitter. (thus all names preceded by the @ you see on twitter handles)

The start of our story: a few weeks ago mild mannered @garyploski tweeted to @supercoolagency “Your superhero … is smoking? That’s not really cool.” So, in response, their new social media guy (@chamberlainwill) just took it to the top and being all socially webilatory focused, they decided to make it a challenge. See the short story of it in Will’s own words here. Well then it bounced around a while, I never even heard about it until CDC‘s own media folk called me and said, hey, you seen this countermarketing campaign on Twitter, they need help. I’m like… no worries we’re on it! (where’s my saddle?)

The offending logo.

The throwdown: If 500 people tweeted “@supercoolagency #losethecig” they will do it. They’d redo all their web, letterhead, everything to drop the cig from the superman logo. (I think they should replace it with white earbuds) (and then I think they should use their coolpower to create a viral video against smoking, because otherwise they could be reborn as bugs.)

The count: As of late Wed, I count about 280 Twitter posts asking @supercoolagency to #losethecig. (and unfortunately a lot of posts just saying #losethecig, which I helped create but may not count since they don’t direct at @supercoolagency, sigh.)

The deadline: Friday @supercoolagency will post the total. Until then they taunt us on Twitter with pro-smoking posts. [update — it’s Friday aft and we might not be at 500 yet, but I don’t care, let’s keep going and we’ll get there! Gary has put up a great spreadsheet with all the cosigners to date here.]

Why this matters? This isn’t about a cigarette, it’s about professional arbiters of cool feeling free to invoke smoking or getting public backlash for doing so. And it’s about leveraging social media, and how many people care. They challenged us to get 500 people who cared about not linking tobacco and cool, and I say, no problem, watch us!

The strategy?

  • Not on Twitter? If not, sign up and tell @supercoolagency to #losethecig.
  • On Twitter? Post this “Hey @supercoolagency, superheros don’t smoke #losethecig. Please retweet!” and also, help us convince Lance Armstrong to ask for retweets from his million + followers, just send him this line: @lancearmstrong please help us fight tobacco via twitter, ask folk 2 RT “@supercoolagency-superheros don’t smoke, #losethecig!”

Other superheros doing lots to help:

So, two days left, I’ll be sure to update you on the throwdown as we hear the numbers!


Scout (aka @scoutout)
Network (aka @lgbttobacco) Director
p.s. Update – thanks Gary for posting a tally of signors, 287 as of this Thu eve!
p.p.s. Friday morning update — of all horrors, despite my years in tobacco control, today I hear my 12 yr old son has started to smoke. I guess all the info and love in the world wasn’t enough to arm him against the $41 million dollars a day in the U.S. the tobacco industry spends to make smoking seem ‘cool’. This boy even lost two grandparents to smoking-related cancer. Sigh. I just don’t even know what to say. One thing is… Let us never never underestimate the power of media to influence our children. (as of noon Fri we have 345 signors)

May 12, 2010 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Communications Training with Kinsale Communications (pt. 2)

When NatNat heard I was blogging, she wanted to get her pic in now as our Queen!

New Media

Hey, so that was fun. Steve brought up Facebook to demonstrate how important it was for Communications and by the time he did, I had this blog post up and on our FB wall. He went to the wall and then the post and the whole room went ‘cool!’ (and they thought I was just all distracted with my typing)

Ok, now back to the info he’s feeding us.

He’s really gung ho on social media now. Why? Because it’s a huge new forum to catch ears and eyes. Here, let’s lay out some numbers…


  • 400 Millions users
  • 200M log in every day!
  • 3.5M update their status daily
  • 3B photos are uploaded/month
  • 5M links per week uploaded
  • 3.5M new events created every month
  • 1.5M local businesses on FB
  • 2M people/day become fans of pages
  • 5.3B total fans of pages now on FB

Power of Earned Media – Cause Companies/Policymakers are Sensitive to Public Notice

So…. Steve really encourages us to use New Media because there’s huge opportunities here for to splash your message, and people/groups/companies are very sensitive to public discussion of their work/product. He gave a great example from his time with Daschle. Years ago, Daschle woke him up at midnight, saying they needed to redo their media now because they were getting killed. Our guy Steve hadn’t seen that at all, so woke up the local guy at midnight too to ask, what is happening? The local guy said “there’s nothing bad in the media, what happened was one buddy of Daschle cornered him about one letter to the editor in a tiny rag near here, and that’s what’s upsetting him.” It was a good example. Steve pointed out that here was a seasoned veteran of Congress, that just got derailed by one small letter to an editor in a tiny town. Yah, good point, that is a great way to leverage power.

I had a recent example myself the other day… I’d spend hours on the phone trying to get a problem fixed with my cell provider. And in the middle, I Tweeted about how aggravating it was. Suddenly, the company was Tweeting me back, asking if it was fixed, what could they do? I was still on phone… so I said… just wait. But then it really struck me, I got off the phone with my TA person promising to call me back tomorrow to check to make sure all was well… she never did, but the Twitter company rep was sure nuf, tweeting me the next day, was all well? It really was a lesson that when I just said something in a public venue, the company responded in a totally different manner than when I said the same on the phone line to them. Hmm, interesting.

Wups, gotta run. The folk on the other side of the room are making me laugh…. I hear them saying louder and louder “Tweet, TWEET, TWEET.” What? “We’re Tweeting you.” Oh, well I’m blogging. Ok, so let me post this and run to Twitter. Ta all. More later. Question b4 then, who’s the best spokesperson for almost any issue?

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Minnesota, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment


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