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:
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.
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:
Web sites of interest concerning blogs:
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.
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.
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).
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 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
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.
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
Free AMBER Alerts to all cell phone users, which immediately notify anyone in the vicinity of an
Ideas for online communities, including some mentioned above.
Wiki This is a model for customer support using blogs and wikis.