Last September 27 and 28, SEATCA conducted the first Regional workshop on Social Media, at the Moniten Riverside Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. In attendance were SEATCA’s Core group members, Regional Media Officers,(RMO), SEATCA Industry Surveillance (SIS) Focal Points, of the seven SEATCA partner countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand & Vietnam, and social media experts.
The workshop proved to be very successful, as many countries inthe ASEAN region are still new to or still unfamiliar with the potentials of using social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for public health. Despite the fact that most are keen to learn new and best practices for leveraging the same to strengthen their advocacies, not many in tobacco control have fully utilized its potentials for media and policy advocacy.
The 1 1/2 day workshop provided a platform to initiate discussions on social media tools and strategies for tobacco control advocacy that have emerged in recent years, learning from best practices, how these can be duplicated, and challenges that it poses. To provide the context, countries presented updates on how the tobacco industry have utilized social media for their own means. A social media expert from the Philippines, Mr. Roby Alampay, Editor-in-Chief of an online news portal gave an overview of how social media is being used for development; Ms. Marita Hefler, current news Editor of the Tobacco Control Journal presented highlights of her paper on “Social Media Strategies of the Public Health Sector: lessons learned to advance tobacco control.” The paper was commissioned by the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office to explore existing social media case studies strategies, tools, and innovations in public health, in the hope that it will provide tobacco control advocates best practices and lessons to be able to develop their own social media campaigns as individual countries and as a region. The paper also served as the workshops’ working document.
Other sessions were: discussions and exercises by tobacco control advocates so they can harness the power and innovations of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to mitigate and effectively counter the larger media campaigns of Big Tobacco, and to share with among advocates key lessons and best practices on the use of social media done by colleagues, such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube campaigns, so others can be empowered with ideas and options for applying these same lessons and practices for their own campaigns.
For more, please contact Joy Alampay, SEATCA Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org