How to microblog in high heels

A geek girl's guide to social media and online engagement

Posts Tagged ‘community

A comment on GuardianWitness – another tool on the roadmap to open journalism – and Making News – Radio 4’s programme on modern day news cycle

Lots of talk and excitement on the web today as the Guardian unveiled a new UGC platform – GuardianWitness – a downloadable app and desktop tool which allows users to easily submit photos, video and text direct to journalists.

Joanna Geary has written a post about the launch here and there’s some more detail on One Man and his Blog after Adam Tinworth interviewed Joanna about the project. First, a big well done I think to all those involved in the project – in particular members of the community team Joanna Geary, Laura Oliver Caroline Bannock and Philippa Law. As I hope to explain in this post – GuardianWitness looks set to make the process of users collaborating with journalists even easier.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

April 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

How can online communities assist and enhance traditional journalism? Some notes

On Wednesday this week I’ll be taking part in a panel event run by City University’s Interactive journalism students (they go by the name of ‘interhacktives‘ online) about how community engagement can enrich journalism. 

Also on the panel will be Nick Petrie, my counterpart at the Times, Sarah Drinkwater who runs Google Local, and MSN International editor Tom (aka flashboy) Phillips who also runs Is Twitter Wrong?

The Q&A discussion hopes to answer the following questions:

  • How can online communities assist and enhance traditional journalism?
  • What does a community manager actually do?
  • Which are the most useful social media and online tools?

For my part I will be drawing on three particular examples – both recent and long term – which I think exemplify how engaging with online communities can enhance your journalism.  Read the rest of this entry »

The bottom half of the internet: The counter-attack to the war on online comments

Disclaimer: This post was first drafted on 6 September 2012 in response to the Telegraph article mentioned. It was then put to one side and redrafted on 22 October 2012 in response to Ben Whitelaw’s great piece on the value of comments, then put aside again for a few months. I now feel it’s finally time to hit ‘publish’ after hearing Rob Manuel’s talk at The Story conference 2013.

Rounding up a great day of speakers who highlighted the importance of narrative, emotion, feeling, playfulness and passion in storytelling – Manuel ended with a face slap of an argument against the columnists and online haters who are currently staging a ‘war on comments’ on newspaper sites, and a ‘war on trolls’. Manuel’s brilliantly executed argument – which he has written out in full on his blog – left me feeling now was the time to publish this piece and rewrite my call to action at the end. Some of the examples are contextually relevant to the various times of writing.

There is currently a war on comments. The ‘bottom half of the internet’ – the place where the regular general public go to spew hate and bile into cyberspace (or so certain people are led to believe) below the untouchable ‘above the line’ prose of columnists and real-life paid journalists is being attacked from all sides. New headlines emerge staging a ‘war on trolls‘ and tweets urge you not to read the bottom half of the internet.

This war has been building up over the last two years. Engadget announced in 2010 they were switching off comments forever, Nick Denton announced plans to reinvigorate comments on Gawker by hiding the filth and floating quality to the top, and then Helen Lewis attacked online commenters on the New Statesman, which was followed by this great post ‘in defence of online comments‘ from James Ball. Only in the last month, Tech Crunch switched back from Facebook comments after realising real names really don’t make much of a difference, only to be swamped by more ‘trolls’ and baddies.

Respected journalist Paul Carr was tweeting about the horrendous comments on a news story about a journalist who died, followed by another attack on comments from the Telegraph’s Mic Wright entitled ‘Comments are the radioactive waste of the Web,’ which Mic actually said he could write a book about. Wright’s piece is a more considered and genuinely interesting unpicking of the value of comments which, for the first time in a while, led me to feel I would like to contribute my meagre two pence to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

February 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm

#Newsrw: Harnessing the power of online communities

Today I did a presentation at news:rewired about harnessing the power of online communities. Here’s what I said, and the slides are here.

Lightning definition: what is a community coordinator? I’m embedded in the newsroom, I think about new ways we can engage readers around a story – this might be through comments on site, through social media or a special project designed to engage readers.

The first key point to developing communities in a way which will help your journalism – Be a game player – You can’t just watch or run the game to reach the end goal, you need to play it – sometimes with others – sharing tips and tricks & encouragement along the way – I’m NOT talking about ‘gaming’ in the sense of ‘pretending to be something which you are not’ – I’m talking about the true sense of a game – entering the spirit of teamwork to overcome obstacles and reach a mutual goal. Part of this is about connecting players to each others – which I’ll go into later.

But thinking about that end goal, what’s the motivation for readers when we ask them to get involved? I think our readers are motivated to engage with our content for two reasons – 1) because we’re the Guardian, and 2) because of the news story. Now these may be felt in differing measurements – but those who spend time leaving comments on news stories will certainly have both those of these interests as a motivating factor for getting involved. And engaging readers in a way which shows you understand their passion for the brand and the story will be the first step. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

July 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm

#cmLDN: Community managers London January meetup and #CMAD

Thanks to all those who came to the first Community Managed LDN meetup for a Christmas social. We’re kicking off the new year with our first event proper.

It’s on Wednesday 25 January 2012 – from 7pm at Crayon, in Oxford Circus. See my last post on what the meetups are all about here – a friendly informal space to chat about building and developing online communities.

For the first event we’ve got Markham Nolan from Storyful coming to share some thoughts with us about community management in the year to come. Markham is a social media newsgatherer, sourcing and verifying news via social media using old journalism techniques alongside new tools. A core part of this is sizing up and building relationships with online sources and crowdsourced factchecking.

We’ll then have a couple of pitch sessions à la Hacks/Hackers London and some space for anyone to share a story from their community and questions/debate. If you want to take part in any of these slots please email

The very lovely people at Crayon have kindly offered up their cool space in the heart of Oxford Circus for us to meet up in so we’re looking forward to trying out this new space with this new group. Please do say hello to @nathanmiller and the @crayonlondon team to thank them for the room and the Ribena! There are more details on how to get to Crayon and a map here.

So all you need to do is head over to the meetup page here to tell us you’re coming. Once again we’ve organised this via The Community Manager – but you can also find our chat about it on Meegloo here, or follow some of the tweets here. If you add yourself to the London group we’ll keep you updated on future meet ups – where we’re likely to hear from speakers and do some more exciting things.

Also – in case you didn’t know, next Monday it’s #CMAD – community manager action day! Give you nearest communities worker a cupcake, hug, beer or any other sign of your appreciation. It’s an international event (there was an event last year in London too) so get involved via Twitter using the #CMAD hashtag.

Written by hrwaldram

January 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Community Manager meet up – #cmLDN: Come and join us!

Laura Oliver and I have been discussing getting together with other community managers in the UK for regular meet ups to chat, share ideas and meet likeminds.

The Community Manager already has a number of meet ups going on in the US – so we decided to bite the bullet and get the first one started in the UK – setting at date for the first meet up and hoping to get things really underway in the new year.

So if you work in any way with online communities, and want to meet others in a similar field please do come along to our first meet up on Thursday 15 December from 7-9pm. We now have a location – we’re meeting at the Slaughtered Lamb in Farringdon. Sign up here to come along.

For the first meet up, and since it’s the end of the year and close to Christmas, we’re just thinking it’d be nice to have a social affair and hopefully speak to people about what they’d like from future meet ups – maybe even making sure we have a steering group to help organise things. If you add yourself to the London group we’ll keep you updated on future meet ups – where we’re likely to hear from speakers and do some more exciting things.

Let me know any suggestions or ideas in comments here or over on the meet up page. And hopefully see you in a couple of weeks!

Written by hrwaldram

November 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm