When you have an action coming up, put together your media team. Find people committed to covering certain tasks which together make up complete citizen coverage of your event. A multimedia social system is simple to build. In some cases, you will only need to employ a certain few of these communications tactics. In other cases, a few committed people can cover most of these responsibilities. The technology to create your own complete media coverage involves just smart phones, internet, and cameras:
My favorite livestream is Ustream. I like the great chat boxes that go alongside the streams, and that also post to twitter. Good audio. Social set-up and integrations there, too. Excellent horizontal impact. It’s crucial that the livestreamers sync their Ustream accounts with their Twitter accounts so that they can post their live video to twitter, hashtags and all, so that the twitter audience can find, watch, engage, and share the streams. Livestreams can also be posted for live viewing on websites and facebook walls, and should be.
It’s important to create better, archival quality video. Post these rough and edited pieces to youtube for widest impact. Share the vids through all your social channels among your network of socialites.
- Live Tweet
Folks can livetweet from their smart phones. Just create and log in to your twitter account. Use hashtags in common with others who are tweeting your event and topics in order to build a conversation. Be sharp and clear. Find other tweeters who are representing at the event or engaging from elsewhere and mention them, quote them, respond to them, retweet them. The more buzz you build, the more visibility you get, the more awareness you raise. And that’s the whole point! Engage more people in making change.
- A Good Hashtag
It’s not so hard to break news by getting your event hashtag to trend if you have a team of people tweeting every few minutes. Use a short hashtag so that there’s plenty of space for everything else in the tweets, and search for it first to make sure it’s not already in heavy systematic use. Tweeters can post related article links and share their own ideas along with the hashtag.
- Tweet Pics
Live tweets that include images are really interesting and get retweeted a lot. People like to be able to see what’s going on, and a nice photo can be moving. Anyone tweeting with a smart phone should be able to shoot pictures with their phone and share them on twitter along with hashtags, mentions, and ideas.
Flickr and other online albums where images and sets can be easily shared (on twitter!) and commented on offer additional venues for building buzz and community around your campaign. They also provide more spaces for citizen journalists to share original media content for the world to see.
- Facebook Events
Facebook events give notifications at each post in the event after a person has been invited to it. They can be shared everywhere, every which way. They also provide another gateway into the facebook page or facebook group or to the individual person who hosts the event. At times with the conversations that take place on the facebook events, the comments section becomes a true community-building space and a record. Facebook events are another resource-sharing opportunity for the campaign not just before the event but even for event livestreaming and reporting. After the event, as videos, photo albums, and articles come out, share them there!
- Websites, Blogs, Facebook Pages and Twitter
Use your campaign’s websites and blogs, facebook pages and official twitter accounts as a system to disseminate ideas and call for action. Learn the simple techniques for systematizing your grassroots communications. Combining this system by occupying traditional media outlets via opeds and news articles is an additional option to help get your media and messages to reach more people. With news stories, you take the risk that you might be misrepresented. Your social sites are used like press releases, so use them wisely!
Representing your own story by creating your own news coverage and media is as simple as a decision. Covering all these online bases positions you to engage and interact with viewers on various social platforms and increase your impact. Be sure to do your follow-up and share links to the best videos in the descriptions of relevant images, and on twitter and facebook threads, as well as with any related email lists. Share links of certain of your social sites on your other sites.
Participating in the digital communications age is a privilege, a responsibility, and a necessity. Best wishes, Wendy Kenin @greendoula
This piece also appeared at Hella Occupy Oakland, the website of the Occupy Oakland Media Collective.