Like one of my best friends, I go to YouTube when I want to know about everything and nothing. For me, having an active visual draws me in more than any amount of text or still graphics ever could. For example, I could preach to youth about condom use until my voice goes out, or I could also share this funny YouTube video with them:
This video is funny, surprising, and may be offensive to some people. Either way, the message is memorable.
Second, I love the storytelling that goes into YouTube videos, especially in regards to health related issues. I was excited when the Banyan Tree Project was included in this week’s resources, since I helped with this campaign back in 2011. I even tried out to be in the YouTube PSA, and learned at the same time that I’m not the best actress out there (-_-). Regardless, it’s a great campaign focusing on stopping HIV/AIDS-related stigma in Asian & Pacific Islander (A&PI) communities. Through education and storytelling, the campaign aims to create a world that accepts people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Saving Face Can’t Make you Safe” is a short, concise message that is a call to action for those who haven’t been tested for STIs. While the campaign as a whole focuses on stopping stigma amongst all people who are affected by STIs, I like that this particular PSA focused on women. Women are often thought to be at less risk than men, and this video is trying to express that STIs do not discriminate between sexes. EVERYONE is at risk, not just men.
When making videos for a campaign, you must first know your goals and the audience you want to target in order to build a sustainable channel that keeps viewers coming back for more. Check out some the Banyan Tree’s storytelling videos here. Their videos cover avoiding risk, being supportive, and staying healthy. They also have sections for stories told by men and by women. Real stories from real people are relatable and adds to the authenticity of the campaign, thus increasing buy in from your target audience.
What’s also great about YouTube is that the links to the videos can be embedded in almost any other form of social media whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. YouTube in combination with any other form of social media gives you more pack in your public health punch.
Lastly, I love that YouTube has the power to be informative and controversial at the same time. Take a look at the type of comments left on the Banyan Tree video I linked above. Whether fueled by anger, ignorance or support, the bottom line is a conversation is happening about STI stigmas. The video created an online space for people to educate others about the bigger picture. I think that campaigns for (insert public health issue here) should be in your face and should be somewhat unsettling. If the issue being addressed were socially just, there wouldn’t be a campaign for it in the first place. Campaigns need to get our attention; they need to make us think twice in order to be effective.