How to microblog in high heels

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

Posts Tagged ‘online

Hyperlocal mapping: Tools and tips for geolocation storytelling

Recycling data by ward in Cardiff – created with Google maps and Zeemaps

One of the first things I did when setting up hyperlocal blog BournvilleVillage.com was to look at a local map of the ward area’s electoral boundaries.

Within the first few weeks of posting up blogposts of news and events in the area, it was evident maps and geolocation tools were integral to the internal mechanics of hyperlocal blogging.

I knew my ‘patch’ from the angles of road junctions, local landmarks by how they looked when I passed them on my way to work, the size of the park by the length of time it took to walk around with the dog, and where my house was in relation to everything else – a map of our local area is woven into the fabric of our day to day lives. Each story’s meaning to the reader is bound up with its geolocation – every line of each post had a longitude and latitude in her mind built through memory.

This post on gritting routes in Bournville written by Dave Harte included a few pars and a map showing the priority gritting routes for the council in times of snow and icy weather. Within minutes the post attracted a comment from a local asking what exact boundaries were considered Bournville – whether roads from neighbouring wards Cotteridge and Shirchley could not be included because many residents considered them part of ‘Bournville’ – location, for hyperlocal publishers and readers, is pumped with emotion.

Maps are part of the very idea of hyperlocal – but when is it best to use them to help illustrate a story – and when is merely adding the name of the road or postcade area enough for residents to get a geolocal grip on the content?

I’m preparing a blogpost on mapping tools and tips for hyperlocal publishers and would welcome your comments and ideas to feed into this practical guide – with perhaps some comment on how maps have been used so far and what should be avoided.

In a couple of weeks I’ll also be running the first Cardiff Students Social Media Cafe where we’ll be looking specifically at using mapping tools to illustrate or tell a story.

Indeed, one of the first things I think about when looking at how big media and local blogs are using maps is often that they are used in completely the wrong context – as a tokenistic nod towards data visualisation.

When used in the right way the map is the medium through which the story is told – or is a portal for readers to add to the story.

Great mapping tools I have used in the past include Google maps, Zeemaps, Open Heat Map, crowdmaps and a few others.

Which are your favourite tools for mapping and what are they good for? What stores lend themselves to a map, what problems can be solved with a map? When should we use maps in hyperlocal reporting and when have they worked well/not so well. Leave your comments below and they will feed into my future blogpost and workshops.

Written by hrwaldram

January 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Top new media developments of 2010

Another year over and another smattering of predictions of new media developments in 2010; some made tentatively – knowing the pitfalls of trying to guess future trends; others made largely on what we can see happening already.

Media moguls wait patiently for the days when they can begin cataloguing 2010 moments, and predict the next big thing of 2011. It’s their right to do so – they’ve seen the industry change rapidly over the last few years and no doubt some hope to be on the money with their foresight.

But before we go on to take a stab and how the media landscape will look at the end of 2011, many of us have been dozily wallowing through the months that were 2010 – analysing the top media moments and smugly reminiscing on new media breakthroughs.

In 2008 I wrote on my addiction to end of year top ten lists. Here’s my top ten of the top ten 2010 reviews: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

December 31, 2010 at 5:29 pm

‘Let’s stop being patronising and talk about distributed journalism’ – notes from #newsrw

On Friday, practitioners, editors and future thinkers in journalism came together to talk about niche websites and the next steps for online at the News:Rewired conference.

I went along to the day and participated in a panel entitled ‘What’s next for niche’ and there have been some great write-ups from the day’s sessions already. Read the rest of this entry »

News:rewired – What’s next for ‘niche’?

Tomorrow I’m speaking at News:Rewired – The Nouveau Niche. The panel I’m talking on is called ‘What’s next for niche?’ – essentially it’s going to be a debate about some of the tools journalists can use to help them work online.

The blurb for the afternoon discussion is:

The best minds in online journalism and digital publishing come together to discuss what tools, techniques and platforms specialist journalists should be looking towards.

Other speakers on the panel include Kevin Anderson, Ciaran Norris, Philip Trippenbach and Suzanne Kavanagh. I’m not sure I’d consider myself a ‘best mind’ but I’ll be there to explain a little about some of the tools and technology I use professionally on a day to day basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

June 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm