Women's Health Base

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Posts Tagged ‘community blog’

Community Blogging – Overcoming Apathy

Posted by hannahflynn on November 11, 2008

As I have previously mentioned I began a community blog recently, but with little success. I had come face-to-face with the reader:lurker:contribution ratio. So it was with interest that I listened to Adam Tinworth’s views on the subject.

My own experience of community blogging has been as a regular reader (rather than contributor to) Feministing and Short Sharp Science. Two very different subject areas (!) and two different interpretations of the meaning of ‘community blog’.

Short Sharp Science started off as a series of specialist blogs on the New Scientist website, but recently became one ‘super-blog’. Its contributors are the same people who contribute to the magazine including its editors and reporters. Rather than being the place to report the harder science that the magazine takes care of it contains a lot of more human interest and political approaches to the subject matter. Short Sharp Science is a community, but it is a professional community and one of science journalists and not enthusiasts.

On the other hand, to contribute to Feministing all that is needed is to sign up and post. This could be considered a fairly dangerous approach to blogging but the site is extremely successful and its proprietor Jessica Valenti a successful journalist in her own right who works with her team of editors to moderate the blog. So how do they do it? Social networking of course! The site has branched out with a Facebook group, a YouTube page and a Meetup Alliance.

A good example of an open community blog that embraces a geographical rather than a subject area is Dublin Community Blog. All that is needed to contribute is a quick email to the administrator to put you on the list of authors. The blog contains what’s-on information and has also embraced traffic-driving sites such as Flickr.

So is the answer to a successful community blog an increase in traffic rather than enthusiasm? It would make sense looking at the reader and contributor ratios. Unless there is an RL equivalent, like with New Scientist’s Short Sharp Science, it is unlikely to attract traffic alone. However, it is important to question how the use of these UGC sites would be differ from straight news sites.

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Social Networking in Journalistic Practice

Posted by hannahflynn on October 22, 2008

I have been looking for examples of organisations using social networking tools to find and recruit people. Luckily, so has Press Gazette’s Student Journalism Blog. By joining a Put Dr Pepper in all UK McDonalds group on Facebook, he has been targeted by a Channel 4 journalist looking for fast-food aficionados.

This is a classic example of how much easier it has become to find people (and target them) on sites where people group together according to interests or ‘beliefs’. I’ll be trying to contact this Channel 4 journalist to see how successful using social networking sites was for her documentary.

With regard to my own social networking networking experiment, The Waves is going relatively strong nearly a week after it began. The Facebook group has been the most successful (38 members, three discussion topics and 12 posts) example, probably because of the fact that you can invite people to it which increases the level of traffic. The launch of the blog was popular with several people who asked for it to become a community blog. I agreed after visions of becoming the administrator for the UK version of Feministing. However, no one else has posted anything yet.

I have had two people respond to the Yahoo group, and one person (already involved with the group) respond to my post on 43 Things.

It is less than a week into this experiment but I’m really starting to doubt the power of anything other than Facebook, but we will just have to wait and see.

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Facebook: The Voice of the People?

Posted by hannahflynn on October 16, 2008

Those who watched the last installment of Jamie Oliver’s new campaign for social justice, The Ministry of Food, on Channel 4 last Tuesday will know it was not going well. The people of Rotherham weren’t getting their mates round for a cook-up as Jamie’s food revolution manifesto had insisted on. So, he’s gone online.

On to MySpace to be exact*. And I’m left wondering; why didn’t he think of this earlier? A quick googling session later and its clear others have already jumped on the Ministry of Food bandwagon. Fans have already set up a website based on Jamie’s ‘pass-it-on’ campaign, which links to their Facebook page. Students’ favourite, Beyond Baked Beans has a Facebook page which has recently started promoting the ‘pass-it-on idea’ with a vlog showing people how to cook the recipes from the book. A brilliant branding idea.

Its not surprising as any campaign group worth its salt has at least a Facebook group these days. These are not only used as a forum for its members, but also as a recruitment and advertising technique which ensures as large a group as possible is aware of its presence.

It has been touched upon in lectures but I have failed to find many good examples of the positive influence that social networking can have on campaigns and grassroots activism. Then, completely by accident, a little experiment has fallen into my lap…

Wasting time cruising on Facebook, I found a post on a group’s wall looking for people willing to set up a feminist group in Cardiff. I fired off a message saying I was interested and ended up at a Cardiff Feminist Society – Founders Forum meeting at Milgi’s last night.

Having already discovered this using Web 2.0 social networking facilities I have decided to carry on in this vein. So, I have set up a community blog, a Facebook group, a Yahoo group and a posting on 43 Things to get the ball rolling.

Lets see what happens!

*Not Facebook as was suggested in the lecture!

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