I started a Tumblr blog to collect stories of violence committed against women who refused men’s advances (full background story here), and 24 hours into this project, we’ve received some incredible sets of traffic and engagement numbers. Put your nerd pants on, kids, we’re going for a ride.
Really don’t think I’ve ever participated in a project that got this sheer kind of volume right away. Read more →
If you’ve not been following along in the latest brouhaha concerning sexism and the tech industry, this week saw a monster of a flame war spring up around conduct at a tech conference. Many other terrific bloggers have summed up what’s been happening, but let me offer a set of bullet points and links to bring everyone up to speed…
Whenever I’m called in to provide the leaders of both public and private sectors training and guidance on using digital tools, I sometimes get a little bit of resistance. And that resistance almost always focuses on a single complaint:I just don’t have time for this. People in leadership positions are already juggling a million different roles and tasks, and I’m asking them to take on another that doesn’t, at first glance, feel like it has immediate return on time investment. In the nonprofit world especially, movement leaders experience intensive levels of stress, and social media doesn’t always seem to make sense in the scramble of trying to save the world.
In the social media workshops and trainings I facilitate, one of the most frequent questions I get is: What kinds of things really get a lot of attention on social media? Or, the dreaded: How can I make my posts “go viral?” These questions are especially difficult for folks working in advocacy fields, where updates and news aren’t always rosy pictures, or captivating soundbites. They see a funny video go by, and they sigh, “But how can we do that?”
First, you’ll have to start chanting one of the mantras that I put forth in my classes: Social media tools are not communications tools. They are relationship management tools.
There’s a lot of chatter about Sheryl Sandberg‘s new book and effort, Lean In, going around the Interwebs this weekend. The premise of Sandberg’s work seems to be that women currently don’t have all that they need to be ultimately successful in their professional lives: we don’t speak up enough, we have biological clocks and workplaces that don’t deal well with those, and a variety of other gender barriers. Sandberg wants to build women up to places where they can overcome those barriers, and build a social movement along the way. The book won’t come out til March 10th, and review copies have been hard to come by. (I haven’t tried, for the record, that’s just the word in the backchannels where I hang out.) Thus, it’s difficult to make deep commentary, so my thoughts here are based primarily on the article in the New York Times, a few other other blog posts online, and private conversations with colleagues over email.
With the supposed death of journalism looming over media junkies worldwide, it’s easy to wave off plenty of media innovations as passing fads while we mourn our shrinking paychecks or lost jobs. But there’s a new kid on the block that I’m ridiculously excited about– Symbolia, a new magazine for comics journalism. I’m biased about this particular innovation on two fronts: I’m a comics nerd & artist myself (a new collection of stories from me is due out Spring 2013), and Symbolia’s creator, Erin Polgreen, has been a friend and co-conspirator since our days in the independent media movement in the US. But with its launch on Monday, Symbolia has accomplished two major feats: elevated the status of illustrated, sequential art as a form in a neglected space, and created a new space for us to reimagine what journalism can look– and feel– like. [Start now: download Symbolia for iPad from iTunes, or get thePDF version.]
Yesterday afternoon in New York, and other cities across the Eastern seaboard, fierce thunderstorms hit. No major damage, not even widespread power outages, and yet the social media storm that accompanied the real ones leaned toward frenzied. I got caught up in it, too–live-tweeting the relatively mild conditions we experienced in south Brooklyn, and wondering about the emergency push alert I’d received for the first time on my mobile phone. Pictures of hail and scary looking clouds flew by, while many took the end-times feeling of the cloudburst to preach about the dangers of climate change. And then it was all over an hour later.
This summer’s early heat wave has felt like an anomaly, and certainly I’ve never seen pictures of storms around NYC like those that were shared over the course of the storm. And I’m wondering if that’s exactly the point: I can’t compare those pictures to pictures I remember as a kid, because I didn’t have Twitter when I was ten.
Who would you name?
We all say we despise those lists that get created to showcase influencers and hotshots in our field. But secretly, (a) we wish we were on them, (b) they didn’t pick the same small group of people all the time, and (c) we all know that people love lists, or else we wouldn’t keep making them. So, how can we break out of ruts that naming-games create?
We’ll create a new game.
You would think that social media as a journalistic and political tool would have gotten far enough into mainstream, regular use that we would collectively be avoiding glaring mistakes at this juncture. But no, all it takes is a major national event that all kinds of people would be paying attention to–like, say, the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, combined with our culture’s obsession with “first!“, and the power of Internet tools to capture the moment.