From social media sceptic to fanatic

Up until recently, I sucked at social networking! I rarely logged into my facebook and when I did, I’d quickly check new messages and logout. In most cases, I’d reply to the messages by email. I had this weird, phobic attitude towards Facebook – an imagination that if friends saw me hanging out on facebook regularly, they’d perceive me as the idlest looser with nothing better to do!

However, my attitude has changed, thanks to the ICFJ’s course which am taking since mid December. I now embrace facebook, twitter and all the other digital networks out there. I  become more acquainted and interested in social media. However, keeping up with the digital age is overwhelming…

Here are some of my recent activities:

1. Multi-media (YouTube: and audio).

I shared work related videos on YouTube and embedded them on our website. The latest video below, posted a few weeks ago, has about 100 views. These are relatively few but all very encouraging.

For the video, I used a simple digital camera to do the interview, edited it using CyberLink PowerDirector 8 which costs less than 100 dollars and streamed it directly to YouTube within minutes.  Indeed, digital tools are becoming ever so simple, easy to use and affordable.

In addition to producing videos, I have produced several audio interviews and embedded them on our website. These are real-time interviews with volunteers from around the world who participated in WACC’s 4th Global Media Monitoring Project, conducted simultaneously in about 130 countries, November 10, last year. I used a simple audio recorder, which also cost less than 100 dollars, and edited them using audacity – a free open source software. Below is one of the interviews with a university professor in England.

Interview with Dr. Karen Ross,  Professor of Media and Public Communication, University of Liverpool

2. Twitter: Over the last 2 weeks, I have tweeted several times especially since the developing story of the Haiti tragedy.

3. Facebook: I also manage the WACC facebook (wacc-global) in addition to my personal Facebook and that of Africafiles. The Facebook pages are inter-connected with twitter, so the postings appear automatically on Twitter. This is quite a time saving strategy, thanks to the inter-connectivity of these tools.

4. Blogging: Since I created this blog for the purpose of the ICJF course, I have endeavoured to update it regularly, linked it to several blogs and subscribed to RSS feeds from other blogs, particularly news blogs. I catch up with the latest news from around the world through the RSS feeds subscribed on my blog.

I also read other blogs to update myself on subjects related to my profession. I find social media bloggers, as well as my ICFJ colleagues, particularly interesting and resourceful.

5. Flickr: Later this month, I will launch this year’s WACC annual photo competition on flickr. I plan to publicize it on facebook, twitter and blogs in addition to our regular tools such as the website, E-newsletters and emails.

6. Linked in: I am linkedin with friends and colleagues, but I haven’t fully explored this tool yet.

7. Myspace: Just today, I  joined myspace, another digital tool to explore and expand my network.

Most exciting

For me, the most exciting tools so far are twitter and facebook. First of, they are inter-connected and easy to use and second, they are instantaneous. A classic example of the effectiveness of these tools is the the Haiti story which has been covered extensively and intensely. Major news networks have been updating the story from twitter.  E.g.  article on BBC

Over all, it has been exciting to create, develop and update my blog, and to link to other blogs. Social media are not only resourceful for the purpose of the ICFJ course, but also for my own professional growth and pleasure.

Better use

To make better use of these tools for WACC, I plan to post an announcement on the next issue of our monthly newsletter encouraging  our readers to follow us on twitter and Facebook.

I also plan to search and follow other organisations and individuals who share our professional interests.

Without a doubt, I will use all the digital tools at my disposal, to promote WACC and to expand my professional and personal networks.

———-

I recommend Gina Chen’s article about Hopes for journalists in 2010

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