New technologies have changed the way we communicate; we have 108 mobile subscriptions for every 100 Australians, 89% of adults own a smartphone, and more than 13 million Australians use Facebook. The popularity, low-cost, and scalability of these new media are ideally suited to sexual health promotion. There are numerous examples of innovations in sexual health promotion using mobile phones, social networking sites, apps and games. Programs have ranged from mass broadcasting of social marketing messages to highly individualised interventions. This presentation will provide an overview of some of these and will present the evidence for their success.
This presentation will also discuss evaluation practices used in sexual health promotion via new technologies. There is little guidance about methodology in this emerging field; measuring the true impact of a program, beyond counting ‘likes,’ is difficult. Opportunities to utilise the technologies themselves in evaluation are sometimes missed.
Finally, challenges in scale-up and translation of programs from research settings to the real world will be discussed. Successful and unsuccessful examples, and the lessons we can learn from these, will be examined. Common pitfalls in the field, such as confusing medium and message, assuming that newer is better, and mistaking reach for impact will be discussed.