New media complements traditional media as a way to share content and connect directly with your audience. Online tools are user-friendly and provide you with a great opportunity to promote National Recovery Month (Recovery Month), as well as the effectiveness of treatment and the possibility of recovery.
Every year, Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It,” emphasizes that while the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of preventing and overcoming mental and/or substance use disorders are significant and valuable to individuals, families, and communities. The theme also highlights that people in recovery achieve healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. They also prove to friends, family, and others that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.
To help you engage the online community and reach this year’s target audiences (military personnel, the criminal justice system, families and friends, and people in recovery), review the following glossary for background information on key online terms:
- A user-generated website – short for “web log” – that gives online users an opportunity to share news or opinions on a particular subject, such as a person’s success in achieving recovery, the hardships of untreated mental and/or substance use disorders, questions individuals have about a problem, and what they can do to get help.
- A free resource used to create a blog that enables users to design their profile, name their blog, and find others who share similar interests. Depending on privacy settings, the site allows others to offer feedback on posts. Blogger profiles can be created using a Google account username and password.
- Discussion Board (or Message Board):
- A forum that contains conversations, or “threads,” which are made up of multiple posts about specific topics. Members of the recovery community have started discussion board communities for support, such as In the Rooms, The Sober Recovery Community, and 2gether Forum.
A social networking site where people and organizations create online profiles and “friend” people or “like” organizations or campaigns to form a network. You can share personal interests, photos, and other information in your profile. Join Recovery Month’s Facebook page and engage others in the ongoing dialogue. Below are some terms specifically related to Facebook features:
Friend: An action that allows you to add other individuals to your overall network.
Like: An action that shows interest in and support of an organization’s page or status; “liking” an organization’s page will then allow users to receive the organization’s status updates in their feed and may allow the users to comment on the page.
Wall: The space on a profile or page that allows friends and users to post messages for the network to see.
Status: A feature that allows you to display a short message of up to 420 characters. Your status can describe your whereabouts and actions and can also be used to “share” photos, videos, events, news, and links.
Event: A page to post information about an event and send invites to your friends or network.
Tag: A designation for photos that link directly to another Facebook user’s profile or to an organization’s page.
Messages: A tool used to exchange private messages, emails, and mobile texts with friends.
Chat: A feature that allows online users to send instant messages or call other friends who also are on Facebook. You can change your settings to be visible on chat only to certain friends.
- A popular site to share, store, and search photos posted. Recovery Month event photos can provide event ideas or help you find members for your coalition. Upload and share photos from your Recovery Month event and tag yourself and others in the photos.
- A location-based social application that allows users to “check in” from locations using applications on smartphones (e.g., iPhone, BlackBerry, Android) or using mobile Internet (e.g., iPads). Each “check in” updates your location so that other Foursquare users can see if anyone else on the network is at the same location. People can “check in” at Recovery Month events to indicate a large following.
Google Blog Search:
- A search engine that offers a continuously updated search index. Results include blog posts and can be viewed and filtered by date.
- An electronic mailing list that congregates a set of email addresses so that a sender can use one email address to reach a variety of people.
- A digital media file that can be downloaded through web syndication and played back on a mobile device or computer. Recovery Month offers a large selection of audio and video podcasts that you can promote on your own website or to which you can subscribe.
- Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or Web Syndication:
- A function that enables users to read all of their blogs on one website. An RSS reader, such as Google Reader, collects individual posts from blogs and news sites, and presents them as they arrive. When researching recent news as you prepare to plan an event or form a coalition, set up a feed to receive the latest news and blog posts from the recovery community directly to your inbox.
- Social Marketing:
- The action of using the Internet to brand a campaign or product. Recovery Month uses Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as part of its social marketing campaign.
- Social Network:
- A system that links individuals based on similar interests, beliefs, or relationships. Use social networks to build a coalition that spans communities across the country. (See Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr for specific examples of social networks.)
- An online search engine designed primarily for searching blogs and ranking their reach and influence in the blogosphere. The site includes blog posts created less than six months ago in its search results. Use Technorati to search for bloggers who cover mental and substance use issues. These bloggers may have an interest in helping plan a Recovery Month event.
- A blog creation platform that allows users to build and custom design their own blog. On Tumblr, you can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.
- A small image posted on Twitter profile pictures to signify support for a particular cause. To display your personal support for Recovery Month, add the Recovery Month Twibbon to your Twitter profile picture.
- A social network and microblogging service that allows its users to send posts of a maximum of 140 characters to their profiles. These posts then appear on other members’ homepages when they are subscribed to the user’s feed. Follow Recovery Month’s Twitter page and engage others in the ongoing dialogue. Search Twitter for other people who “tweet” about their Recovery Month events or talk about their personal recovery experiences. Below are some terms related to Twitter to help you navigate the site:
- Following: An action that allows you to subscribe to other Twitter users’ feeds so their tweets will show up on your Twitter homepage.
- Re-tweet: An action that allows you to copy someone else’s tweet and post it on your own account. It’s usually done if you want to share someone else’s tweet with your “followers,” or add commentary on what was posted. You will usually see the letters “RT” in front of the text if it is a retweet.
- Hashtag: A symbol (#) that you can place in front of a phrase or word so it can be easily grouped and found through a search of that keyword. This is commonly seen in Twitter chats. An example of this would be #RecoveryChat, Recovery Month’s unique hashtag for its chats.
- @: A symbol (“@”) that you can place directly before a Twitter user’s name to reply to a tweet or direct the tweet to a specific person.
- Trending topics: The most common phrases appearing in tweets; a list of trending topics can be found on the sidebar on the Twitter website.
- Direct messages: Private tweets sent between you and another Twitter user. Both accounts must be following each other to send or receive a direct message. This is sometimes referred to as a “DM.”
- Lists: A feature that allows users to organize people they follow into particular groups and view tweets from specific people at once.
- Twitter Chat: An organized discussion on Twitter surrounding a particular topic and designated by a particular hashtag (#) to track users and participation.
- An online file that allows people to tune in to your meeting or event.
- A type of online meeting that is transmitted over the web, and can include seminars, presentations, lectures, or workshops. Webinars allow for two-way communication between speakers and participants, while displaying visual information onscreen.
- An online tool added to websites that displays or shares information from various sources. Instructions for adding Recovery Month widgets to your blog or site are available on the Recovery Month website. The Recovery Month event widget allows users to locate and learn about events in their area, while the Recovery Month quote widget gives users the capability to view and share an inspirational quote each day.
- A community-researched encyclopedia with more than 10 million entries and 77 million monthly visitors. The site’s content is user-generated, and entries are compiled collectively. Organizations are discouraged from editing their own entries, as it is considered a conflict of interest.
- An online video-sharing site that allows users to post videos they’ve created. Users create their own channels that host all their videos and allow others to find them based on related interests. Check out Recovery Month’s channel and SAMHSA’s channel.