Module 1 Suggested Activities
- Grow your network on World Pulse: Starting with your fellow Correspondents, Vision Mentor and Editorial Mentors, add more friends to your World Pulse community. Reach out to people in your country or region, past Voices of Our Future correspondents, or people who share common interests. Use the member directory or search function to find people.
- Cross-post your Module 1 assignment: Share the link to your assignment on your Facebook wall or on your Twitter feed.
- Comment on other Correspondent’s assignments: Help build your network and strengthen the connections in our community by commenting on other Correspondents’ assignments.
- Write a journal entry about your experience with social media tools, including questions you have, or any new ideas that come to mind for how to make web 2.0 work for you.
- Look at blog directories for interesting bloggers that you would like to follow and share them with the World Pulse community.
Digital Media Learning Materials
As women who are passionate about raising your voices, we want to ensure that you have access to and an understanding of the latest tools and trends in digital media.
With each new learning module, we will offer you tips and information on how to use digital media as citizen journalists and social activists. You will learn how to use digital media to: amplify your voice online; streamline your online experience and store information; use Google Search effectively; use mobile phones; and put Facebook and Twitter to use for more than just social networking.
Remember, learning about new technology can be just like learning a new language-frustrating at first until you familiarize yourself with a new vocabulary and start putting your new knowledge into practice. We encourage each of you to learn about the breadth of tools that are available to you.
Using Digital Media to Amplify Your Voice
With your World Pulse journals, you have effectively self-published a blog. To ensure that people hear what you have to say, you need to find ways to attract an audience to your blog, engage them and keep them coming back. Often, the more time and passion that you invest in your blog, the greater the rewards will be in terms of creating relationships and spreading your voice and vision. Below, we've outlined some suggestions for amplifying your voice, creating a community around your blog, and developing a global network for change.
Increase Your Web Presence
- Offer your readers fresh content on under-reported stories and events with new and interesting perspectives.
- Use catchy titles, bullet points, bold font, photos and videos to quickly draw in your reader. Most people scroll through a blog, scanning headlines and photos before digging into a story.
- Update your blog frequently. Pick a day of the week to post and try to stick to it. As your blog becomes more reliable, your audience will begin to notice and check back more often for new posts.
- Find the right length for your posts that gives enough depth to your story but doesn't overload your readers.
- Break up your content into multiple posts if they are too long.
- Tag your posts. Using both specific as well as general keywords when tagging makes it easier for readers to find content they’re interested in, and search engines such as Google to index and locate your post.
Engage Your Community
- Tap into community wisdom. Ask your readers questions about their lives or perspectives to encourage commenting and conversation.
- Comment. Comment. Comment. Creating conversations is such an important part of digital media. Dedicate an Internet session to responding to other bloggers or following up on comments to your posts to encourage dialogue and find out about other people's lives, issues, and projects.
Grow Your Network
- Add more people to your community on World Pulse.
- Find like-minded bloggers by using blog search engines, such as:
- Google Blog Search -which allows you to search blogs on specific topics. Just type a term into their search field and you will be supplied with links to blogs that have discussed that topic.
- Technorati- The leading blog search engine and directory, Technorati allows you to browse within a specific topic (e.g., politics, technology) or search blogs more broadly. There is also a directory of millions of blogs available here: http://technorati.com/blogs/directory/. You can use the service for free, or join their community of writers by setting up a free account in just a few minutes.
- Utilize BlogRolls to find other interesting bloggers. Many blogging services, such as Blogger or Wordpress, let bloggers create lists of links to their favorite or like-minded bloggers called BlogRolls. These usually appear in the blog’s sidebar. Next time you are on a blog you like, look for other interesting blogs in the BlogRoll.
BlogRolls provide a way to spread traffic around the web along common themes. If you have a Wordpress or Blogger account, creating your own BlogRoll can be a great way to raise awareness of your blog. Users you list will likely reciprocate the effort and list you on their BlogRoll. In this way, more people will see your blog name, and traffic will increase.
- Cross post your story. Posting the same article to multiple blogs, microblogs, or social networks is called cross-posting and opens up more opportunities for people to read your work and find your blog. Services such as Hootsuite and MultiMi make it fast and easy to send your work through multiple channels at once including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Media Vocabulary
A few helpful terms are listed below as you start to learn about digital media.
- API Key, short for Application Programming Interface Key, is a unique code generated for a user. These codes allow people to place interactive content on their websites. Generally, this term will only be relevant for more advanced digital media work. For example, you may be required to register for an API Key to embed a Google Map in your website.
- BlogRolls are lists of links to other recommended websites and can be found on most blogs that use popular blogging services such Blogger and Wordpress.
- Bookmarks are shortcuts to URLs stored in a web browser. If you find a web page that you would like to return to, click on the bookmark tab (sometimes called Favorites or Shortcuts) of your web browser and then click on "Bookmark This Page" or "Add a Bookmark." The site is now stored in your list of bookmarks so you can quickly return to that web page. Note that this is best for a personal or work computer, rather than a public or Internet cafe computer.
- Cross-posting: Posting the same article to multiple bogs, microblogs, or social networks is called cross-posting and creates more opportunities for people to read your work and find your blog.
- Crowd-sourcing is when a large number of people contribute information or collaborate on a project online. Mobile phones are frequently used to submit information. One example of crowd-sourcing is the Ushahidi project. It was originally developed to collect information on post election violence in Kenya in 2008. Users could send text messages from their mobile phones to a phone number that directed the information to the website. The reports from citizens around Kenya were then organized on a map displayed on Ushahidi.net.
- Home pages are the main page of a website.
- Open-source refers to software that makes its source code publicly available to developers to use or modify and redistribute for free.
- Plugins are mini applications that can add extra features to your web browser or to other programs such as video or audio editing software.
- Post: To submit content online is called to post or posting. The content itself is also called a post.
- RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is used to publish website content such as blog posts and news headlines. When a post is formatted for RSS it is called an RSS Feed. To collect and organize your RSS Feeds you will need to use an RSS Reader or News Aggregator such as Google Reader. By subscribing to your favorite news sources or blogs with your RSS Reader, you no longer have to visit all of your favorite web pages to read new posts. Your RSS Reader will collect the headlines and often the first few lines of a post for you so you can catch up on the most recent posts from your favorite websites all in one place. More on this item will be provided in Module 2.
- Short Links are URLs that have been shortened. These are created by services such as TinyURL and bit.ly to make it easier to remember and share. Many URL shorteners also allow you to track how many clicks your link has received, and from where in the world.
- Site Maps are similar to the Table of Contents of a book and are often found on the home page of a website, typically at the bottom of the page. They offer users a faster and easier way to navigate the website by listing links to all of the pages of a site on a single page.
- SMS stands for Short Message Service and is a technical term for text messaging.
- Tags are keywords used for posts or web page content. These allow posts and web content to be more easily found by web searches or by browsing the Internet.
- URL is another name for a web address and stands for Uniform Resource Locator. An example of a URL is http://www.worldpulse.com