As I think about the points I’d like to make at the Policy Making in the Digital Age conference this Saturday, and the “Policy Schools and the New Media Debate” panel I’m moderating, I can’t help but stop and wonder, “How DO we make policy in the digital age?” I am someone who looks deep into these issues every single day, and from what I see each day, and have watched happen over the past few years of this digital age, I can only think that there may be no hardened answer to this question but, “With great flexibility and a watchful eye.” Read the rest of this entry ?
Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
2009 was a banner year for me in terms of media development. It was not by any means my starting point in media, but it could go down as year in which my work achieved lift off. But all was done in the name of helping people spread information, express themselves, and/or strengthen their networks with other people to promote change. So, I thought I’d take a look back at my year in media development, get it all together in one place, take stock, establish something to compare 2010 to, reminisce a little.
Researching Extractive Industry Transparency and Journalism Development in Africa
I began the year leading a team through a study to assess needs and effective training practices to raise the level of business journalism in Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our findings would then be synthesized into a report to provide training and media development recommendations to Revenue Watch Institute, which wanted to use training to improve business journalism, and promote extractive industry transparency. The best part of this project was that I got to spend two weeks in January in balmy Nigeria–a country the Bradt guide calls “Africa for the Advanced”–and meet face to face with Nigerian journalists, journalism educators, and media development experts. Lagos, in particular, was INTENSE. And fantastic. I also got a chance in this to bone up on my skills developing surveys and interview guides, building networks of contacts, designing a team research wiki, and producing a report of findings. Read the rest of this entry ?
Posted in Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & North Africa, Mobile Communications, Research, Social Media and Web 2.0, Sub-Saharan Africa, Traditional Media | Tagged Advocacy, Bangladesh, Communications, Cote d'Ivoire, CoveritLive, Digital Activism, Egypt, Evaluation, Facebook, Ghana, Iran, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Training, Training Materials, Twitter, Uganda, Ukraine, Web Design, YouTube, Zambia, Zimbabwe | 1 Comment »
New media, especially social media, are playing a significant role in challenging authority and states in the Middle East. This is the first post in a series I will publish on examples of how new media are being used toward this end. Egypt will start off this series.
Egyptians have begun using online social-networking tools like blogs, Facebook, and YouTube as tools of dissent against the existing authority. This is significant given that the reigning president, Hosni Mubarak, is seen as a dictator—in fact, one of the world’s ten worst dictators—and his reign has been marked by human rights abuses and acts against freedom of expression that have warranted calling him one. Read the rest of this entry ?
Normally, I focus more on promoting things done well rather than rail against things done poorly. But, I gotta say, there’s room for exception in some cases. Enter: LiveJournal. I’m sorry, but I kinda think the world would be a better place without LiveJournal, given the available alternatives.
Sure, it would leave a huge number of people who use it to blog, express themselves, connect with others, create networks, social network, and whatever else they do, out in the cold. Particularly in eastern Europe, in places like Russia and Ukraine, where LiveJournal has a commanding lead in the blogging platform market. But, while my party line tends to be “try NOT to make things any harder in developing and transitioning countries, because they are hard enough already”, with LiveJournal I have to take a longview, pragmatic, and perhaps short-run heartless stance and say, “Cut the cord. You’ll thank me for it”.
Because, to everyone still on LiveJournal, I have to say: in the end, all this platform’s doing is holding you back. It really is subtraction by addition. And besides, there are so many other options that are much, MUCH better.
Okay, here are my bones to pick with LiveJournal (and trust me, running through this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you, LiveJournal devotees): Read the rest of this entry ?
During my training on Facebook in Ukraine, figuring out how to use the Translations application on Facebook to translate Facebook to Ukrainian and Russian opened up the possibility of training Facebook Pages. Of course, about a week later, I discovered that Facebook had simplified the process by putting a link in the lower left corner of every page that can easily be clicked to switch languages, saving a lot of explanation time. The funny thing about all of these Web 2.0 sites is that they upgrade without being too loud about it. There’s a lot of serendipity to working with them.
I really became a fan of Facebook Pages during this training, when I saw how much they could do for journalists and NGOs that just isn’t that easy to do elsewhere. I came to understand just how extraordinary they are as a marketing and communication tool. And in the context of Ukraine, it was clear that they presented a paradigm shift in how journalists and NGOs relate to the internet. Here’s essentially what I trained: Read the rest of this entry ?
Three other things to note:
- Languages – You will see that some of this is occasionally in Ukrainian or Russian. In those instances, I tried to provide an English translation to make it easier to read for non-speakers. In some cases, I have used Google Translate to translate into Ukrainian. Be careful with these, because occasionally the translations are a bit funny. However, they are close enough to be informative. Also, ideally I would have a Russian version, Ukrainian version, AND an English version. But, time is finite.
- Downloadable Version – I have also created a downloadable PDF version that might be a useful alternative for you. Please let me know if you have troubles with this, and I could post a different version.
I hope these links below will prove useful for you. I tried to stay current, using links and info only from 2008 and on. I’d love to hear any thoughts, questions, or feedback on any of this. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry ?
In this post, you will find links to documents I created that explain how to use Facebook Pages and Groups in Ukrainian and Russian. If you click on the links, you should be able to download Word docs. I have also provide the links to the original English versions of each of the Facebook pages.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find these instructions available in Ukrainian or Russian, so I had to translate them myself. I used Google Translate to do it. The translation will probably be a bit funny at times. Better than nothing, right? The text comes from Help Center pages on the Facebook site. I would have just run those pages themselves through Google Translate, and provided the links below, except that Facebook has been programmed in a way that won’t allow Translate to actually translate these pages. To get around this, I copied the text itself over to Translate, translated it, and then dropped it into Word docs. Therefore, this information will have to be from these documents I uploaded.
- Facebook Groups Ukrainian – From the English Version of this page
- Facebook Groups Russian – From the English Version of this page
- Facebook Pages Ukrainian – From the English Version of this page and this page
- Facebook Pages Russian – From the English Version of this page and this page
Also, here is a blog comparing benefits and drawbacks of Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages
- Translated into Ukrainian using Google Translate – http://bit.ly/OhaTP
- Translated into Russian using Google Translate – http://bit.ly/OCRS0
So, you are sitting in Ukraine, and you are wondering, “Do I train Facebook or do I train Vkontakte?” If you understand what both can do, which one is more powerful, you think the answer’s easy—Facebook. Then you realize that Vkontakte is the website that gets the most traffic in Ukraine, among ALL websites. Yeah, it’s that popular. Facebook? #36.
Do you train the more powerful tool? Or, do you train the tool that everyone is already using? If your goal is to train skills that add a lot of value and power, using a site that is #4 in the world, and will therefore catch you up with everyone else in the world, you go with Facebook. If your goal is to tap into large groups of people in your country, you go with Vkontakte.
This presented me with a real dilemma. On the one hand, my mantra for the whole training was to “go where they already are”. Social networking doesn’t groove so well if you go somewhere dead (and by dead, I mean like when you walk into a bar or a restaurant and the serving staff all look up at you at once, happy to finally have a customer). On the other hand, this is Facebook we are talking about. Facebook can flat out haul ass compared to Vkontakte. It can do so much of what I wanted our trainees to go home knowing how to do that Vkontakte simply can’t. Read the rest of this entry ?
Well, looks like I’m on the Ukraine commute, as my friend, The Goat, pointed out. I’m heading back to Ukraine today to do another set of New Media trainings with Internews-Ukraine. For the most part, these will be the same trainings. Just some tweaks here and there. The big difference is we are hitting new cities. The first will be in Kyiv, like before, but will draw in some journalists and NGOs from Vinnytsya. Then, we head to Odesa for two days on the beach, um, I mean, trainings. Finally, to Kharkiv.
I can’t decide which I am more excited about. Odesa or Kharkiv. I’ve been to Odesa before. But it’s Odesa. On the Black Sea. And this time, it will be July, instead of March. Or April. Or whenever I was there with my wife in 2006. Should be a lot more fantastic. Though, Odesa’s a pretty cool city, regardless. So it wasn’t like it was terrible before. Even when it is cold, hey, you are still at the beach, right? Read the rest of this entry ?
Teaching social networking in Ukraine is a fascinating experiment in “how can an American, with a rather different concept of social networking from Ukrainians, explain this concept and the tools to be used with it in a useful way for these trainees, and not offend anyone in the process?”
The main tools for our social-networking session were Vkontakte and Facebook (not excluding all the other tools that qualify as “social networking”, like LiveJournal, YouTube, Podfm.ru, all things Yandex. However, before we got into the tools, it was important to explain social networking. After all, the tools aren’t the end, they are the means to the end.
So what was the end in the case of this session? First, to help them understand the basic principles of social networking, and connect them to these tools. Second, to help people understand how social networking will help them as journalists, media activists, and NGO strategists. Third, to confuse people, and offend them, as little as possible with my “American” perspective of America, and more importantly, Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry ?