Perhaps like many of you, I spend a lot of time on conference calls, in meetings, writing emails. I write a lot of emails. But once in a while a project comes along that reminds us why we do what we do. A project that makes all the meetings, and calls, and emails worthwhile.
For me, that project was Positive Spin. Positive Spin was produced by AIDS.gov and combines digital storytelling, the HIV continuum of care, and black gay men living with HIV. Real people with real stories.
Positive Spin features videos of 5 men—Guy, Ken, Paul, Patrick, Uriah—who share their personal experiences navigating the HIV care continuum from testing, diagnosis, and treatment. They are all living full, healthy lives with HIV.
A couple of months after we launched the project, I received this text message from Uriah:
What happened next was heartwarming and amazing and reminded me that this wasn’t just some website that broadcast our videos to whomever was willing to watch them. This was about real people watching and listening and connecting meaningfully with other real people, and receiving real support.
So while we measure views and likes and shares and retweets and comments and hearts and friends and followers, we are reminded that there are real people behind every tweet. Every comment. Every photo. Every like. Share. And every follow.
What we are doing on social media…what we are attempting to do by sharing stories, by leveraging technology – it’s real. And if we do it right, if we do it with compassion, if we remember that it is a real person on the other side of that computer or phone, then social media can make people accessible in new and exciting ways. And #mypositivespin can truly make a difference, one hashtag and one real person at a time.
To learn more, please watch the videos and download the facilitator’s guide at https://positivespin.hiv.gov.
**Editor’s note: Anthony Roberts, who helped connect a person recently with HIV to care in the above email exchange, has since been hired on as a social media specialist at AIDS.gov.