Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’


How DO we make policy in the digital age?

February 24, 2010

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 ?


2009: A retrospective on my year of media development adventures

January 4, 2010

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 ?


LiveTweet at the Cool Twitter Conference in Philadelphia

November 11, 2009

I went to the Cool Twitter Conference in Philadelphia yesterday, and of course, tweeted about it. Here is a feed of my tweets during the conference, but just the first ten. At the bottom, below the friendfeed, you can click links to see more of my tweets. (Or, you can see everyone’s tweets aggregated here). I tried to focus my tweets around useful details and links the presenters provided. We covered topics like personal branding, health care uses, tweetchats, customer service, law enforcement, and more.

I wanted to set up a CoveritLive window in my blog, which would have been best for livetweeting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with (making me think about switching to Blogger, or something else–>more on this in another post). But, @philbaumann (thank you, Phil!), the presenter on health care uses of Twitter, helped me come up with this alternative using friendfeed. Not my first choice, but an acceptable backup.

A big thank you to the presenters at the conference (in reverse order, more or less):

@lawscomm – Lauri Stevens on Twitter for law enforcement
@sistertoldja – Jamilah Lemieux on Twitter to build and brand your blog
@philbaumann – Health care and Twitter
@cathywebsavvypr – Cathy Larkin on chats, like #smallbizchat#journchat
@Lifes_Dash – Michele Mattia on becoming a part of the conversation
@chefmarksmith – Mark Smith on Twitter for your restaurant business
@gloobspot – Jeff Lopez on building your brand and generating profits on
@IQMZ – Owen Stone on Twitter as a gateway drug to other social media
@whiskycast – Mark Gillespie on driving consumers to your platform
@comcastcares – Frank Eliason on Twitter as a customer service tool Read the rest of this entry ?


New Media and The Middle East – Challenging Authority in Iran

September 30, 2009

This is another installment in my series of posts on examples of ways new media are being used to challenge authority in the Middle East. This post will focus on Iran.

Internet access in Iran has seen a particular explosion, growing faster than any other Middle Eastern country, according to Reporters Without Borders.  “From 2000 to 2007,” reported Sepideh Parsa, “the number of users grew from 250,000 to 18 million, which accounts for 53.7% of users in the region”.

Within this explosion has been the rise of blogging in Iran, with the blogosphere becoming such a phenomenon as to warrant its current nickname, “Weblogistan”.  This rise in blogging is having political ramifications for the Iranian State.  “Blogs have become an essential medium for dissidence against the autocratic regime and its state-controlled media”, said Parsa.  “Iran has one of the strictest censorship policies in the Middle East. Thus, blogs offer Iranians the only platform to peacefully exchange their political thought, emotions, and opinions while overcoming the boundaries that have been imposed by the government”. Read the rest of this entry ?


MediaNext: Twitter – Training Links I Used in Ukraine

August 5, 2009
Here are the links I used during my MediaNext training seminars on Twitter for Ukrainian journalists and NGOs in June and July. You will find examples of how these tools are being used by journalists and NGOs (case studies, if you will), links to articles with statistics and trends in these tools, and other misc. links backing up with at I was training. You will also find at the bottom a section of “helpful links” and one on “Twitter tips”. I was working with co-trainers, so these aren’t all of the links we used in our seminars. But, this gives you a good base.

Three other things to note:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 ?


MediaNext: Heading Back to Ukraine

July 9, 2009

Kharkov_Freedom_SquareWell, 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 ?


MediaNext: Teaching Twitter in Ukraine, Convincing the Skeptics of Its Power

June 25, 2009

3346248321_259f26a0feTwitter was the tool I was most excited and nervous about teaching in Ukraine. On the one hand, I think Twitter has a number of uses that make it a powerful tool for research, communication, and broadcast that are rather distinct in the Web world. On the other hand, it’s not something widely used in Ukraine, nor are these powerful uses immediately apparent from Twitter’s front page—the result is that Twitter may seem too simple to provide many complex uses. In other words, it can appear to the beginner to be a gimmick, something fun at first, but ephemeral. I was excited to teach Twitter precisely because I think it is powerful, and that few in Ukraine were using it at all, let alone to its potential. But that is also why I was nervous—the hardest thing about Web 2.0 technology is behavior change.

There were some things about Twitter in the Ukrainian context that I was particularly concerned would stand in the way. First and foremost, united among all of the Web 2.0 tools we were teaching, was this idea of freely spreading information to the world, letting go of control over it, thinking “What will be useful to someone else?” In my past experience in Ukraine, I have found that information is not something you just give away for free. In the Soviet Union, information was the real currency. It didn’t matter how much money you had, because there was little on the shelves to buy. You had to know someone with the goods on the black market. That information was the real commodity in the Soviet Union.

Now, fast forward to the generation following the Soviet Union, a generation upon which we are still on the cusp. There are still feelings that information is not something you just throw around for all to benefit from at no direct cost. Not everyone feels this way, but it’s still an issue. How weird the idea must be to suddenly be told you should regularly send Tweets with your daily pearls of wisdom, useful online articles you found, your feelings and reactions to a public event. This last one is especially pertinent—for many in Ukraine, what you think about things are still very much reserved for private spheres. Imagine how vulnerable one might feel at the thought of saying to him or herself, “I’m going to Tweet this information so ANYONE can see it, and not just the people in my immediate circle of trust”.

This approach to information, in my travels in Ukraine, has often presented a real challenge to NGOs there. Those I haveencountered tend to see information as theirs, and not something that should be available for all who can benefit from it, especially competing NGOs. NGOs in Ukraine can be VERY competitive for funding and resources. It was not rare, in the past, for me to encounter NGOs that would rather keep information that, if free, could have been very helpful to the public, in the name of maintaining their comparative advantage. It’s the mindset that if you have something that others don’t, but that others want, they will need you. Once they have what you have, it can threaten your existence as an organization. Never mind that your whole purpose as an organization is to help the public as much as possible, and to build your programs around the idea that, hopefully, you will one day no longer be needed. This is very complicated in Ukraine. And an American that comes in slinging around Twitter and encouragement for you to be free with all of your best information can easily be met with skepticism and suspicion.  Read the rest of this entry ?