“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
―Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
A few updates for August!
The first paper on the SOVA intervention has been published! This paper describes how we used human computer interaction techniques and stakeholders to inform the design of the SOVA websites. Check out the abstract at the Journal of Technology in Human Services and email us if you would like a full copy.
We are recruiting SOVA Ambassadors! These are young people age 14 to 26 who are interested in blogging for the SOVA websites. They receive compensation, can add helping with a research study to a resume, and we help them with topics and editing! Also, they get to connect with each other and other youth online to provide support for depression and anxiety. We think it is a win-win!
Check out our video for more information below and if you know any young people who may be interested they can check out more info here or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to announce the next step in SOVA. We are recruiting users to become SOVA (adolescent site) or wiseSOVA (parent site) ambassadors! This means that we will ask them to try to write a blogpost each month and comment at least once a week.
Our hope is that this new phase will grow site engagement and that the bloggers themselves will experience benefits from blogging!
Remember, if you know a young person with symptoms of depression or anxiety – or a parent who has had a child with these symptoms – who may be interested in blogging, please let them know about sovaproject! They can click register on sova.pitt.edu or wisesova.pitt.edu and start interacting!
Oh, an empty white box. So many directions to go. Pictures to search for and embed. Quotes to highlight. Font size to choose. The possibilities are endless. You write. You imagine. You create. You read and reread. Finally with a feeling of anticipation and excitement, you hit publish and there it is – part of the stratosphere of the Internet. Will they read it? Will they comment? What will they think? Then you read and reread. You feel proud about your creation.
Science is wonderful – because recently I found an explanation for these blogging joys when preparing the discussion section for a paper on social media use. This study examined 751 students in Taiwan with blogging experiences. They used structural equation modeling to examine whether theories about self-disclosure and social capital explain why blogging seems to make us feel good. They found that by self-disclosing through blogging, this increased social integration and social capital, which in turn increased subjective well-being.
The implications for SOVA and wiseSOVA from this study are especially meaningful. Based on our current work and feedback from our recent stakeholder advisory meeting, our next research step is to encourage some of our current users who have been so integral in helping to improve the site to start writing some of the blog posts themselves. One of the goals being to increase the authenticity and community building of the site as well as putting the direction of the site into the hands of its users. Knowing it may increase their well-being and build social capital is highly motivating.
Let us know what you think about this article and about blogging!