New and Emerging Media

New media emerges every day and offers various new ways to communicate. When considering using a 

new media communication tool, complete a fair evaluation but proceed with caution since most are 

replaced within a few years. Waiting for the new tool to become established in the technology arena 

before investing time or funds is recommended. Examples of some new media are:

 

Social Media

These are ways individuals connect using media online. Agencies can benefit by connecting groups of 

people online in ways that are not practical in real life.

 

Blogs

Web Logs can be written by anyone for any purpose and are read by those with similar views. Blogs 

can be beneficial to agencies in a number of ways. A blog can help readers understand the 

complexities of issues faced by an agency. It can be used to motivate and educate. A blog for 

employees can also motivate, educate and inform. Here are some specific ways various audiences 

might use blogs for or about an agency:

  • Children, youth or families might use a blog to criticize, praise, or simply describe an experience with an agency. 
  • Designated staff member(s) might use an Intranet-based blog to inform, create camaraderie and recognize achievements. 
  • Activists might use a blog to motivate, meet and inform.
  • FightCPS - dedicated to fighting public child welfare agencies.
  • Child Abuse Effects - written by a female survivor with news about child abuse from around the world. 
  • Child Abuse Charity - global child abuse news stories.
  • The agency Director might use a blog based on the web and/or Intranet. This can increase accessibility by providing a personal, yet leadership perspective. (The audience determines type of blog – ex: to reach staff, the message would be presented on the Intranet. The web would be used to reach all other publics.)
  • Owing to the growing influence blogs have on public opinion, Communications needs to be able to access them. 
  • Child Abuse Survivor - This is about a male survivor of childhood abuse and the issues he faces in adult life.

Web sites of interest concerning blogs:

  • Wikipedia Information on Blogs 
  • Blogger.com – free blogging web site
  • Commoncraft on Blogs - video explaining blogs
  • Commoncraft on Blogs and Message Boards - explains the difference between weblogs (blogs) and message boards.

Podcasts

A podcast is audio and video available via the web and can be created by anyone for any purpose. 

Users often subscribe to podcasts and automatically receive new feeds. An agency can use podcasts 

to educate, such as for an employee training or explaining a process or situation for external 

publics, or for advertising an event.

 

Web Video

These are digital videos posted online (a type of podcast). Agencies can use web videos in the same 

way as podcasts – to educate, inform and advertise.

  • YouTube.com: Predominant web video site. Anyone can post (almost) anything for free. Users can comment and rate posted videos.

Social Networking Web Sites

Social networking web sites allow groups to be formed by people with similar interests, such as 

advocates against child abuse,adoptive parents or foster parents. Agencies can use social networking sites to connect with different audiences, particularly youth. Since these sites also allow two-way communication, users 

can be personally engaged in the conversation. Unfortunately, as these sites can be used by child 

predators, youth need to be warned of the associated risks. Uses can vary by audience and purpose 

(ex: teenagers in foster care).

  • Myspace.com: Social networking site 
  • Facebook.com: Social networking site

RSS Feeds (Really Simple Syndication)

RSS feeds takes information and automatically updates it in brief on another site (ex: weather can 

be added to a web site in RSS format allowing it to be updated automatically by the weather 

service.). Agencies can use these to enhance their web sites. They can also be used to update users 

when blogs or other information have been updated automatically, eliminating a user’s need to visit 

the site to check for updates.

 

Wikis

Wikis is a site where users can contribute, add and edit materials placed on the site. This can be 

used for sharing information, such as resources with contracted providers, allied professionals and 

staff.

  • Most likely to be limited to an Intranet where employees can share resources. 
  • Mywikispace.com: Create a free wiki.
  • Wikipedia.com: Online “encyclopedia” written and edited entirely by users.

Groups

This is for like-minded individuals who “meet” on the web, or use the web to organize and meet in 

real life. Agencies can use this for activists, event planning, or topical groups.

  • Fosterclub.com: It is a Foster Club for foster kids and foster alumni 
  • Google Groups
  • Yahoo Groups
  • Meetup.com: Groups arrange to meet in real life

Twitter

Twitter is a type SMS-blog combination. Agencies can use this to immediately inform subscribers of 

activities. Twitter.com is a free site users log daily activities and follow other’s daily 

activities. SMS (Short Message Service)

SMS sends text messages directly to cell phones. Users need to sign up for this service. This can 

be used to immediately inform subscribers of events and is especially useful in an emergency 

situation. For example, since the nature of casework causes employees to be spread out over a large 

area, in an emergency all caseworkers could be contacted through SMS immediately and 

simultaneously.

 

AMBER Alerts

Free AMBER Alerts to all cell phone users, which immediately notify anyone in the vicinity of an 

AMBER Alert.

 

Online Communities

Ideas for online communities, including some mentioned above.

 

Wiki This

Wiki This is a model for customer support using blogs and wikis.

 

 






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