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my presentation from world summit on media for children and youth

By on Jun 22, 2010 in activism, conferences/events, edelman, journalism, online community, social software |

Last Thursday and Friday I was in Karlstad, Sweden for the World Summit on Media for Children and Youth, where I gave a presentation on how social media is changing the way we – and in particular young people – are experiencing the World around us. Here are the slides (with notes): World Media Summit (Karlstad) – It's all About Social View more presentations from Robin...

guide to using social media (in 6500 words)

By on Oct 21, 2009 in activism, blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, headshift, journalism, mobile, social software | 1 comment

Late last year, and early this year, I embarked on a social media training roadshow (for Headshift) that took me to the far corners of England, Scotland and Wales. My purpose was to show each of the finalist communities taking part in NESTA's Big Green Challenge, a million pound environmental competition now nearing it's end, how social tools could help them communicate more effectively both within their groups as well as with stakeholders and other external audiences. Alongside the training, which was provided on-site in villages, towns and cities – and on one island – I wrote a series of eight blog posts, totally 6500 words, aimed at introducing a wider audience to the use of social media services, social networking sites and content sharing platforms. The original posts can still be found, for now, on the Big Green Challenge Blog but I have, below, brought them together as a single post. This content is now also available as a 15 page pdf (250k): Download Guidetousingsocialmedia Part One: Introducing social media and the whole web as your canvas Social media, as Vicki Costello pointed out in her post here last week, has lots of potential to help individuals, groups and communities to communicate more effectively. This is primarily because social media – a melting pot of social connectivity, conversations and content sharing – allows people not only to create and disseminate their messages in their own way and on their own terms, but also creates opportunities for: direct channels of engagement with and between stakeholders enhanced transparency of purpose and action increased opportunities for communities to form and grow around ideas keep members of those communities better informed and involved increase the visibility of the collective knowledge and creativity within the community reach out to new audiences of potential supporters It's pretty powerful stuff so, over the next six to eight weeks, I'll be writing a series of posts – this one theoretical, the rest practical – here to help you learn how to get the best out of emerging social media tools and techniques. This week, in what is likely to be the most theoretical post of the bunch, I'll set the scene by defining social media for those who are a bit unsure what we're on about and will talk about what I see as the key to success on the web today: the ability to use the whole web as your canvas. Over the coming weeks my posts will offer more practical advice on how to actually get started using some of the services and tools mentioned here today. As I started writing this post, I realised that I didn't really have a one line definition of social media, so I used a social networking tool called twitter to send a short message to my followers, essentially friends and contacts who subscribe to my messages, or tweets as they are called on twitter, asking if they might help. Within a few minutes I had half a dozen thoughtful responses including: "Social media is a new form of technology based communication. It fosters dialogue, transparency and collaboration." – Stefan "like real life, just electric?" – Dominic "Not media, but using technology for a conversation that connects, enables and leads to action, either online or offline." – Jason "Making things, sharing them, seeing what other people have made, commenting on those things and adding to them." – Chris My favourite response came from Howard Rheingold, a widely respected author, University Professor, past speaker at NESTA events and a longtime friend who I credit with helping me land my first real job helping build online communities back in 1998, who wrote: "Many to many media that gains value as more people participate, and which enabled people to connect with each other." There are hundreds of services and tools which could justifiably fall within the definition of social media – below are just a few that spring to mind: Social networking services such as Facebook, Bebo and Myspace Content sharing sites including flickr and YouTube Online discussion spaces such as message boards, forums and chat rooms Blogging platforms which allow easy publishing and more, including WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and others Micro-blogging services including Twitter, which is mentioned above Collaboration platforms, such as wiki's The important thing to understand about each of these services is that that they tend to do one thing very well indeed, but are less good at other things. Social media is no exception to the cliche, which often rings true, that you've got to have the right tools to do the job. So, for example, if you want to post photographs and have discussions with other keen photographers, you'd be hard pressed to find a better place than flickr to do that but you probably wouldn't want to use flickr for collaborative working. This is where we start talking about using the whole web as your canvas (with much owed to Tom Loosemore, who did much to bring this idea to life for me) – an idea which has, at it's root, the idea that the internet is a vast network of interlinking conversations. In the past, many people and organisations cared only about the growth of their own website. This is a bit like trying to plant a single apple tree at the end of a fenced garden. It might blossom, and bare a few...

forum for debate on the road to media freedom

By on Apr 29, 2009 in activism, blogging, citizen journalism, conferences/events, headshift, journalism, law | 2 comments

Last week I spoke at the Eurasian Media Forum in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The conference brings together journalists, business leaders, academics and politicians for two days of discussion ranging from news coverage of global events such as the current economic crisis to the implications of the Obama Presidency on East-West relations. It’s a pretty far flung place, but one with a fascinating mix of influences – cultural, economic, political, historical, religious. The conference is hosted by none other than the Daughter of the President, so the security bubble it (rightly) exists within also makes it quite different from most of the conferences I’ve been invited to. I went, at least in part, in the hope that by talking about the tools and techniques of blogging and social media, I could encourage delegates to think about being more open, transparent and direct in their dealings with audiences, consumers and, for the politicians in attendance, the populaces they govern. It was my usual sort of presentation but attendance at my talk was a bit disappointing which I later discovered was because a small scale protest was going on outside the building. Dan Kennedy blogged about that and what happened in the subsequent panel which we both participated in, on his blog Media Nation. Obviously, I can’t profess to have been aware of the protest at the time I was on stage nor could I, as an outsider, ever expect to fully understand it – Central Asia has cultural and contextual differences that can, without a proper analysis, make it hard for Westerners to fully unpick things. What I can say is that the purpose of the conference – creating a broad forum for debate about media, politics, society and business- made it absolutely worth attending. It’s an even more important debate in this region, where many are still trying to figure out exactly where they fit into a world that has changed dramatically around and within them over the past...

broadcast live video online using your mobile phone

By on Feb 28, 2008 in activism, blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, journalism, mobile | 2 comments

Earlier this week I installed an application that turns my mobile phone into a highly portable, live broadcasting device. There are plenty of video sharing services that can accept uploads via mobile phone including youtube, blip.tv, kyte.tv and others. But qik, the service I’m currently alpha testing, does something very different – it allows you stream video live from a 3G phone to the web. The potential for this is incredible. From now on, every journalist will have the ability to get usable video content on air almost instantly using nothing but a mobile phone that fits easily in their pocket. Activists will be able to stream live from protests. Concert goers can share their front row seats with friends at home.  Privacy concerns aside,  the ability to stream live video from a cameraphone, and for that video to be instantly available around the world via the internet, really is awesome. Here’s what the service looks like online: And a short video I made showing how the mobile application looks on a Nokia N95 handset: Click To...

techpresident: tracking the us presidential candidates use of social media

By on Jan 3, 2008 in activism, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, journalism, politics, social software | 1 comment

At last October’s Networked Journalism Summit, organised by Jeff Jarvis, I had the pleasure of meeting Micah Sifry of the Personal Democracy Forum which is described on their website as a "hub for the conversation already underway between political practitioners and technologists, as well as anyone invigorated by the potential of all this to open up the process and engage more people in all the things that we can and must do together as citizens." PDF is the organisation behind TechPresident. When I met Micah, he seemed almost surprised when I told him I’m a huge fan. Which I am. I think it’s one of the most interesting projects to emerge in the last year. For the uninitiated, TechPresident tracks the American Presidential candidate’s use of technology – in particular blogging, youtube, and social networking – in their campaigns. There’s stats porn aplenty, for example the graph at left which plots the number of facebook friends each candidate has and shows whether that number has risen or fallen in the past week. You’ll also find aggregations of candidate blogs. But what I enjoy most are the original posts by Micah and his team that provide insight into the clever ways some of the candidates are really trying to leverage the capabilities of social media in their campaigns. For example, yesterday’s post by Michael Whitney points out a facebook widget developed by the Barack Obama campaign to help users find out which of their friends might be eligible to vote in the important Iowa primaries (today) so that they might remind their friends (and influence) their vote: With the US Presidential Primaries taking place over the next two months, and the actual election following in the autumn, TechPresident is likely to get a lot more notice in 2008 and I can’t wait to see how the site continues to...

social impact of the web @ the rsa

By on May 25, 2007 in activism, blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, conferences/events, journalism, newspapers, online community, politics, social software | 6 comments

I’m one of the half dozen BBC people attending The Social Impact of the Web event today at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce) in London. The central theme is: “With e-democracy and new forms of on-line consultation and community mobilisation still to become a reality, how can new internet technologies empower us to interact with each other in novel ways?” The first panel to get a crack at answering this question includes Georgina Henry, Editor, Comment is Free & Editor, The Guardian; Andrew Chadwick from Royal Holloway, University of London; and Tom Steinberg, Founder and Director, mySociety and other projects. Audio and video streams of the event are available here. — Andrew Chadwick Three things we should celebrate about web 2.0: Citizen Journalism – 250,000 public comments posted on the Guardian in a month alone (and, quoting Stephen Coleman, the BBC gets over 1 million messages a month) Little Brother – Discusses Conneticutt Bob… a blogger who followed a candidate around and blogged every moment… “we should really like it” that people can turn the public gaze upon politics and politicians Low threshold, co-present, co-production online: wikipedia model (with editors and structure), digg (simple vote) and other forms of collective action such as last.fm Three things we shouldn’t celebrate about web 2.0: The production/consumption divide: Pew study said only 8% were deep users of social media (median age 28), only 7% were connectors. 26% were “indifferent” and/or “disconnected” – and the median age was 64. The vast majority is not producing and the older are more likely to be excluded. The shift to video: Back in the old days, we spoke about how text only communication broke down barriers (eg. text frees you to be who you are, not who you look like). Is worried that the sound bite politics of today will be put on youtube and will limit deep political discourse. Social network narcissism: one of the interesting things that people do on bebo, facebook, myspace, etc they are arranged around the idea of socialability. Yet most of the interaction is individualistic. They tell people about themselves on “absolutely bizarre minimalist” sites like twitter – “the greatest manifestation of social network narcissism if I’ve ever seen one” — Georgina Henry: “If you take a broad view of politics -I like to think of it as what people want to debate, rather than what you want people to debate…” “My feeling of the web is don’t expect too much of it… if you don’t expect too much, you won’t be disappointed with what it gives you, and then it becomes facinating…” “I’ve learned more in a year working on comment is free about the audience than I did in 18 years working on the print side…” “access to it [writing for comment is free] is an important part of it” “Whilst I’ve got quite a dim view of some of the stuff that’s posted on the site… [some of it is good]” “even if you are a journalist who specialising in something for quite some time, there are times when people come along and tell us something we didn’t know, which is quite humbling…it throws [named columnists] into this big forum with thousands of other people… the feedback has been quite rewarding for journalists, but quite challenging too…” “… newspaper sales are going down… the discussion is online and you’ve got to be there… I think it is a very skewed audience… you need broadband, which isn’t universal… tends to be much more male… skewed by people who are often posted in the day, doing the sort of jobs where you can sit at your computer and do this… I never see it as this is life, I see it as this is a slice of life, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage with it…” “people who are close to politics [and are asked to blog] can find it a difficult space… you can recieve this barrage of hostility… that has been very difficult for people… it’s skewed by anonymous screen names… but it does reflect a bit of the times I think, and you can’t blame the internet wholly for that… it’s also reflected in the letters for the editor which you don’t see because they are edited out… the difference with blogs is that it’s there for everyone to see…” “If you look at political activity in Britain at the moment… people finding it a lot easier are people in opposition… partially because there is cynicism aimed at authority…” “I don’t think its a substitute for all the other forms of political debates, but it’s going to absorb more and more of people’s time so you’ve just got to get in there and shape it.” — Tom Steinberg The people who make mysociety happen are the coders and people in the background. A friend sent him an email a few days ago saying he wanted to post on Comment is Free but was worried about doing so. Eventually he did it… Tom says: “There are no winners on comment is free, only losers” Bloggers and News Media are “accelerators”: “for people like me, political junkies, this is just brilliant… it used to be like a drip feed, not it’s like a drip feed filled with whisky…” “News is getting much cheaper….” “Politicians have known that if they made a...