30 April 2012

How to write a good blog post

Updated June 2013
Blogging regularly is generally agreed to be good practice: posting every day or every week can help you build a regular cadre of readers, since they know when to come back for more (or check your RSS feed).

Some people also blog because they want to be visible and demonstrate leadership. Creative types, entrepreneurs and freelance professionals typically need to promote their work and ideas, or to foster a community of interest. Their work provides a source of content, but they still need to craft a good story and do that repeatedly.

Others just blog for fun, so there should be no pressure. For example, I tend to blog about things that I find interesting and useful - and only when I get some spare  time - so my posts are sporadic, but I don't feel stressed about trying to maintain my blog. However, even casual bloggers might want to keep their blog up to date, but find themselves distracted or simply running out of inspiration.

So there may be times when you are stumped for something to say. I found a couple of useful articles discussing what to do about this.

Art business coach Alyson Stanfield proposes a formula that might help aspiring bloggers or anyone else wanting to communicate, but unsure where to start. These are her basic tips for creating a post with images:
  • Title: before or after the blog is written.
  • Introduction (how to 'hook' readers and draw them in).
  • Main body text (stay on message).
  • An image for visual appeal (or as a centerpiece of discussion).
  • Conclusion (what happens now?).
If you are a creative type, Alyson is also running a blogging class for artists, called Blog Triage.

Social media trend-spotter Jenn Herman has posted a series of tips for overcoming bloggers' block ("When You Just Don't Want To Write"). She recommends:
  1. Eliminate Distractions
  2. Get Comfortable
  3. Find Your Zone
  4. Just Start Writing
  5. Use Your Emotions
  6. Don’t Procrastinate
If you need more, perhaps you would benefit from a training course on how to write and get inspired. There are plenty of options, many of them free online. For example:
Good luck!

27 April 2012

Measuring your influence

Can social media work as a for-profit game? The game Empire Avenue may be just the beginning of new ways to monetize social media activity and influence.

Social media indices such as Kred, Klout and PeerIndex have illustrated the almost universal human need for peer support and influence. Sites like BrandYourself are making a business out of the the desire for people to improve their online profile and search rankings. Humorists are even striking back.

Using a range of algorithms, these tools track your usage of networks such as Twitter, Facebook and, in the case of Klout at least, Google+. Add Flickr, YouTube and a myriad of other networks. 

The general assumption seems to be, the more people give you a 'like' or a '+1', re-tweet, comment or recommendation, the more influential you are. And your activity in respect of other people adds to their influence on you.

It seems to be early days for these systems, but some high-ranking people have found that there are tangible benefits, including free car hire, theatre tickets and the like. The added fame and fortune brings its own rewards. 

Sadly, many people have been so engrossed with the need to increase their scores, they are focusing on 'gaming the system' and largely ignoring the reasons they joined these networks in the first place and which might have more bearing on their actual influence.

A recent story in WIRED magazine profiles Klout and the angst of trying to get a better score. I particularly like the final paragraph:

Over time, I found my eyes drifting to tweets from folks with the lowest Klout scores. They talked about things nobody else was talking about. Sitcoms in Haiti. Quirky museum exhibits. Strange movie-theater lobby cards from the 1970s. The un-Kloutiest’s thoughts, jokes, and bubbles of honest emotion felt rawer, more authentic, and blissfully oblivious to the herd. Like unloved TV shows, these people had low Nielsen ratings—no brand would ever bother to advertise on their channels. And yet, these were the people I paid the most attention to. They were unique and genuine. That may not matter to marketers, and it may not win them much Klout. But it makes them a lot more interesting.

To illustrate how engrossing and addictive this trend has become, Empire Avenue is turning social media indexing into a virtual stock market. The site gives members points, or virtual currency, for their social media activity, including their blogs. 

Members can invest their points buying 'shares' in other members. Earn money on your portfolio of social media stock and you can pay a dividend to your shareholders. If you are not earning fast enough you can buy more points for real world money - and that is where it gets very interesting. This is described by many members as a 'game', which doubtless gets around securities laws. But it is clear that the mix of egos, popularity and real cash is drawing lots of attention and could prove seriously addictive!

Empire Avenue is obviously trying to hit the hot buttons that draw people in the biggest numbers. Their forums have a visual style that reminds me of  Pinterest and similar fashionable sites. Mashable previously described it as seriously addictive. You don't have to look far to find a day-trader mindset and people who might have previously been kept busy selling multi-level marketing schemes (among the many others who are clearly in it for fun). Whether the Empire Avenue model is sustainable remains to be seen, but we have not seen the last of social media rankings.

20 April 2012

10 ways to influence with social media

Want to increase your influence online using social media? 

Forbes writer Haydn Shaughnessey says your social media profile can help your career and add to the value of information found online. 

That's why he put together a guide to the basics of developing influence online, which covers the following issues (with some thoughts of my own): 

  1. Planning:
    Think about your topics. Do your research and add value to the raw information. Maybe do a short series of posts about an issue. Pace yourself so that your posts are regular but do not overwhelm readers or make you invisible during lengthy downtime.
  2. Where to contribute:
    Do you think different? Know yourself and what you want to say, then find the right platform. You might find it hard being a liberal in a conservative forum, but then you might also attract more interest (please don't be a miserable troll!).
  3. Growing your influence:
    Know where the audiences are and be visibile. For your topic that could be LinkedIn or Pinterest, Reddit or 4Chan. Write with your audience in mind and follow others doing the same. Be useful to others and you will likely become more important to them.
  4. Writing for the web:
    What is your 'voice'? Authoritative, conversational, detailed, descriptive, poetic? Use snappy titles. Intrigue and excite readers, but please don't infuriate them!
  5. Feedback and eliminating errors:
    Try to check your work and don't bite if people correct your grammar and spelling. Ask friends to tell you - truthfully - how clear and engaging is your writing?
  6. Distribution channels:
    Blog and re-post your items on Google+ and Facebook. Tweet your blogs, or blog in an established location (Huffington Post got lots of free help as bloggers sought a more popular platform than their isolated blogs).
  7. Comments and tweets:
    Does your blog needs comments, or is it enough that you have readers who re-share your ideas? Do you want to stir debate or share information? Do you comment on others' posts, re-share, or both?
  8. Search engine optimization and titles (headlines):
    Use hashtags, labels and keywords. "Google 'how to create good titles'," Shaughnessey says. 
  9. Audience size:
    How many is enough? To earn money from advertising? To fill a petition?
  10. Metrics and benchmarks:
    Who are your peers and competitors? How should you measure success?
In the spirit of developing knowledge, why not contribute your own ideas in the comments below, or on Haydn's blog.

See also: 
How best to use Google+
Social media research

19 April 2012

How to best use Google+

Google+ is fast shaping up as meaningful forum to discuss current affairs and explore science and culture. After one year it hasn't yet been flooded with provocateurs and spammers. But with an estimated 100+ million users, G+ seems to be a hive of intellectual activity that goes beyond early adopters and the intellectual elite.

A significant number of journalists, politicians, educators and community leaders are using it and some are declaring Google+ to be their primary social network. G+ is both a useful source of information and an opportunity to raise awareness and engage with audiences.

To demonstrate this, G+ user Ole Ole Olson has developed a very helpful guide for activists and non-profit organizations to use Google+ effectively. His Progressives Guide to Social Media also covers Facebook, Twitter and sites such as Reddit and Digg. 

The G+ guide includes tips on using circles for selectively finding and sharing information, and he links to some existing circles of key influencers, ranging from journalists, activists and scientists through to specific interest groups such as vegetarians. He also provides links to the institutional pages of major institutions and campaigns, from Mother Jones, Wired and Wikileaks, to Amnesty International and Change.org.

“A good tactic is to write a thoughtful short paragraph about a news article, then paste that comment on every social media site.  If you are reposting something shared with you, always make sure you follow etiquette by attributing where you found the information.” Since circles allow you to share information selectively, I also recommend you also ensure that what you post is relevant to each of your audiences.

As Olson notes, there is a lot of functionality in Google+. Search is a given, and there is also on-demand video conferencing (hangouts), chat and photo and video storage. Since YouTube is owned by Google, YouTube videos are better integrated and play within the G+ site. Others, such as Vimeo, take users to a new web page. 

Some of the basics are also covered in this guide, like the requirement for a Gmail account and the need to use your real name: a potential sticking point for repressed activists needing anonymity (tip: a feasible alias can be used). Google has also streamlined its privacy policies and integrated its accounts more, so you can link your YouTube account to your Google+ account, if you wish.

To make best use of the site, Olsen suggests a clear profile and photo, plus external links. Adding pre-made circles can quickly create an audience as members follow you in return. 

Posting original or useful content can raise your profile, and some users develop community by prompting discussion around specific issues. While that can be an opening for spammers and others to add provocative or irrelevant comments, G+ allows you to block malcontents. On the other hand, you can also see who is voting for you (+1) and re-sharing your posts. Ways to share your G+ posts with your Facebook and Twitter accounts are also discussed.

Find Scott McQuade on Google+ here: http://goo.gl/vLIjk

See also: 10 ways to influence with social media

16 April 2012

Journalism vs social media

The impact of social media on commercial journalism is often overestimated, and the audience size is still limited compared with mainstream news media. Yet the impact is real enough and likely to grow: job losses at CNN in 2011 were just one example, as the company makes greater use of public-sourced videos and photos in its iReports.

There is still a role for professional journalists, and for good reason. Most are trained, experienced and bound by professional principles and laws. They typically pride themselves for sifting the 'truth' or at least verifying facts before publishing. That includes not taking tweets at face value and seeking out balanced, expert opinions. Most journalists also know how to tell a good story, and some have a large personal following.

Of course not all journalists are up to this standard, and some bloggers have huge followings and some maintain very high standards of accuracy and balance. Hearing directly from a law maker or a scientist can be more powerful and detailed than traditional journalism allows.

Social media is now having a big impact in modern journalism, as this report by Paul Sawers of The Next Web attests. Based on discussions at the Social Media Week in London in February 2012, he quoted Paul Lewis, Special Projects Editor at the Guardian, on four key ways that social media is shaking things up:
  1. Finding people (crowdsourcing information, witnesses or other key figures in a story);
  2. Creating personalities from activists, bloggers and others who would otherwise not be given a voice;
  3. Major events like the London riots e.g. following leads and chasing stories via Twitter, and keeping readers informed ahead of a formal publishing schedule;
  4. Small actions making a big impact (the 'butterfly effect') e.g. a tweet containing very valuable information that sets off a big story.

There are many millions of people using Google+, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Yet these channels do not fully represent public opinion. The tweets and posts will continue to represent special interests until social media is accessible to the urban poor, rural communities, the illiterate, the oppressed and people living and working in every country of the world. Until then, social media offers activists and other special interests the opportunity of a higher profile than they otherwise might get in a crowded media environment.

Social media is a growing communication channel, but there remains an important role for professional journalists to filter and validate that information.

09 April 2012

Blogs and sites on communicating for development

Since you made it here, you might like to try some of these other resources on the topic of communications and development:

OECD Department of communication and development: http://goo.gl/IrMIy

UNICEF - defining communication for development: http://goo.gl/82VA2

Communication and development: http://goo.gl/x2w8k

Communication for development portal: http://goo.gl/vvalC

Communicating for Development (this blog!) Developmentworks.blogspot.com

Books on Communicating for Development

A quick look at some relevant books in the evolving field of development communications or
 communicating for development. Since these terms can be interpreted different ways, some of these documents take very different approaches.

If you have a view on these or can suggest other titles, please leave a comment below.

Communication for Another Development: Listening before Telling 
Wendy Quarry and Ricardo Ramirez
Paperback, 168 pages 
Published by Zed Books, 2009
ISBN: 9781848130098
Profile: Argues that in the development process, communication is everything. The authors are expert teachers, practitioners and theorists and argue that Communication for Development is a creative and innovative way of thinking that can permeate the overall approach to any development initiative. They illustrate their argument with vivid case studies and tools for the reader, drawing on the stories of individual project leaders who have championed development for communication, and using a range of situations to show the different possibilities in various contexts.
Reviews: "A book about development and why it too often goes wrong...argues that the development sector mainly uses communication to tell people what to do or think, rarely to listen and learn what people think and know. Funny and entertaining, it provides insight into the value, potential - and ultimately hugely frustrating practice - of using communication to listen rather than tell. Anyone interested in development will learn much from this book."  "A highly readable, information-packed, lucid book on the challenges and successes of communication for international social change, showing how grassroots communication contributes to sustainable change." "Should become required reading for communication for development practitioners. Lays bare the reasons why we are so often frustrated with the outcomes of our work, while showing clearly the opportunities for creative support of empowering development from good deployment of communication processes."
Link: http://goo.gl/00GMH

Communication for Development and Social Change 
Edited by Jan Servaes 
Paperback: 356 pages
Published by Sage Publications, 2nd edition (2008)
ISBN-13: 978-0761936091
ISBN-10: 0761936092 
Profile: Underlines that development communication: is about people and the process needed to facilitate their sharing of knowledge and perceptions in order to effect positive developmental change; is based on dialogue necessary to promote stakeholders' participation; follows the two-way, horizontal model and makes use of emerging many to many forms of communication made possible through new technologies; gives voice to those most affected by the development issue(s) at stake, allowing them to participate directly in defining and implementing solutions and identifying development directions; recognizes that reality is largely socially constructed-and thus culture-specific; uses a number of tools, techniques, media and methods to facilitate mutual understanding, define and bridge differences of perceptions, and take action towards change.
Link: http://goo.gl/l8Ws0

Communicating For Development: Human Change for Survival
Colin Fraser and Sonia Restrepo-Estrada
Published by I.B. Tauris, February 1998
256 pages
Hardcover price: $94.00
Paperback price: $26.95
ISBN13: 978-1-86064-347-7
ISBN10: 1-86064-347-7
Profile: focuses on communication processes in development. Shows how communication can be used to mobilize societies, facilitate democratic and participatory decision making, and help people acquire new knowledge and skills. Social mobilization worldwide for child immunization; communication as a means of facilitating rapid advances in family planning; and the use of video to enable peasant farmers to participate in their own development.

Link: http://goo.gl/xJ0Ir

Communicating for Development: A New Pan-Disciplinary Perspective
Edited by Andrew A. Moemeka 
Published by SUNY Press, April 1994
Hardcover - 280 pages.  
Paperback - 280 pages. 
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-1833-8
ISBN10: 0-7914-1833-2
Profile: discusses the place of communication in economic development and social change, not only as it pertains to 'developing' societies, but also as it relates to the "developed" societies where socio-economic advancement has created a pressing need for social change or the elimination of the dysfunctional effects of industrial development. Addressed are historical development, theoretical perspectives, and implementation strategies and methods.
Review: "revitalizes the study of 'development communication.' Since information and communication processes are becoming crucial to competitive health, this topic has both theoretical and practical relevance."
Link: http://goo.gl/KC472

Communicating for development: experience in the urban environment 
Edited by Catalina Gandelsonas.
Published by ITDG Pub., 2002.
278 pages
ISBN13: 9781853395420
ISBN10: 1853395420
Profile: Communicating urban research knowledge in international development cooperation; the information and knowledge management systems of the urban poor; the role of communication in urban communities; information dissemination and exchange through formal and informal networking; cultural differences and legibility; barriers and gaps; cities, NGOs and the cultural politics of development discourse. Case studies: broadcasting for change; national and regional Internet-based research networks; electronic conferencing; Pakistan - building capacity among industrialists for pollution abatement; building for safety in Bangladesh; communication in HIV/AIDS prevention: a case study from Vietnam.
Review: "How can the lessons of good practice and innovation and the results of research benefit the poor? Challenges traditional participatory methods of relating to the needs of poor urban communities and proposes instead the application of new communication and knowledge management methods currently used in business management."
Link: http://goo.gl/kmZxV

Communication for Development in the Third World: Theory and Practice for Empowerment 
Srinivas R Melkote and H Leslie Steeves 
Hardcover: 422 pages
Published by Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd, December 2001 (2nd ed)
ISBN13: 978-0761994756
ISBN10: 0761994750
Review: "an excellent decade-by-decade analysis of the theory and practice of DC by a Third World scholar who has not only learnt about problems of development from books but has experienced them"
Link: http://goo.gl/TSuiw

Communication in development 
Fred L. Casmir
Paperback: 352 pages 
Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 1991
Profile: Until the past decade, development experts shared a conception of how to facilitate development in the Third World countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. One essential factor in this paradigm was the role of mass media communication. The media were expected to convey useful information from government development programs to their intended audiences. This dominant paradigm of mainly one-way communication flows did not lead to widespread development in the Third World. Instead, scholars and development planners began to search for alternative models of development and for other conceptions of development communication.
Review: "Growing out of dissatisfaction with the theory and implications of the dominant developmental paradigm (of mainly one-way communication flows from developers to "developees"), this volume explores alternative viewpoints of development communication, with chapters focusing on Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Poland, China, Brazil, Latin America, Australian aborigines, Canada, and Germany."
Link: http://goo.gl/g0mzU

Development Communication: Reframing the Role of the Media
Edited by Thomas L. McPhail
Paperback: 256 pages
Published by Wiley-Blackwell (May 2009)
Language: English
ISBN13: 978-1405187947
ISBN10: 1405187948
Profile: Media scholars explore the details of communication in areas where modernization has failed to deliver change. Discusses the major approaches and theories including educational issues of training, literacy, schooling, and use of media from print and radio to video and the internet. Explores the role of NGOs, the CNN Effect, and the power of grass-roots movements and 'bottom-up' approaches that challenge the status quo in global media.
Review: "an astute look at how the field of development communication has changed over time and why it has so much potential as a tool in development".
Link: http://goo.gl/b0Q3D

Communication for Development: Reinventing Theory and Action 
Kiran Prasad 
Published in 2009
ISBN 81-7646-667-0
Volume – 1: Understanding Development Communication 
Volume – 2: Advanced Development Communication 
Distributed by B.R. World of Books, New Delhi 
Profile:  Volume 1 covers rural development and social movements, the use of technologies with a distinct focus on India and empowering users.
Volume 2 includes women’s empowerment, health communication, family welfare and population communication, environmental communication, the digital divide, political economy, and ethics. 

Link: http://goo.gl/gQ3Wx

Participatory Development Communication: A West African Agenda
Guy Bessette and C.V. Rajasunderam
Published by IDRC, 1996.
Online. 138 pg.
e-ISBN: 1-55250-306-2
Profile: The International Development Research Centre created CIME, a development communication program that reflects the interrelations between Communication at the grassroots level, the exchange of Information, two-way Media, and nonformal Education. This book presents the conceptual framework that led to the articulation of the CIME program. It explains in detail how the program was formulated, with references to the recommendations of a meeting of Central and West African NGOs held in Burkina Faso in November 1994. It also draws from the recommendations of a February 1995 meeting in Canada, attended by Canadian experts in development communication and representatives of West African NGOs taking part in the program. This book presents valuable information on the use of participatory communication for nonformal education, on the specific needs of women and young girls, and on the roles they can play as communicators within their community.
Available entirely free online (PDF).
Link: http://goo.gl/oWgT5

Development Communication Sourcebook: Broadening the Boundaries of Communication
Paolo Mefalopulos
Published by The World Bank, 2008.
ISBN: 978-0-8213-7522-8
eISBN: 978-0-8213-7523-5
Profile: "The main reason for writing this book was not simply to gather, organize, and disseminate knowledge on development communication. Rather, it was to make the case for its systematic adoption in development policies and practices. These are the two key messages of this publication: (1) two-way communication, when used from the onset of a development initiative, is not only a useful but also a necessary ingredient to enhance development initiatives and avoid the failures of the past, and (2) two-way communication should be applied professionally by specialists familiar with the rich body of knowledge and the diverse range of methods, techniques, and tools of development communication."
Available entirely free online (PDF).
Link: http://goo.gl/P6CWc 

World Congress on Communication for Development : lessons, challenges, and the way forward 
Online. 308 pages
Published by The World Bank, 2007, with the FAO and The Communication Initiative
eISBN-13: 978-0-8213-7138-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8213-7137-4
ISBN-10: 0-8213-7137-1
Profile: The first World Congress on Communication for Development sought to provide the evidence and make the arguments for placing Communication for Development much closer to the center of development policy and practice. The Congress did so by creating a space for practitioners, academicians, and decision makers to come together formally and informally to review impact data, share experiences on processes and approaches, listen to stories, learn from new research, and strengthen networks.The United Nations defines Communication for Development as a process that “allows communities to speak out, express their aspirations and concerns, and participate in the decisions that relate to their development”. This contrasts sharply with the tendency to associate “communication” with dissemination, information, messages, media, and persuasion. “Communication for Development” encompasses these concepts but embraces a much broader vision. it is fundamentally a social process to involve people in their own development. Includes 'Sex, Lies, and Stories of AIDS', 'Communication for Polio Eradication and Immunization', 'Health Care, Communication, and Rights', and 'Enabling the Voices of Those Most Affected by Ill Health to Be Heard and Acted Upon'.
Available entirely free online (PDF).
Link: http://goo.gl/ETsts

Strategic Communication for Behaviour & Social Change in South Asia
UNICEF working Paper.
Online. 72 pages.
UNICEF, 2005
Profile: Working paper captures the essence of the 2004 Experts’ Consultation on Strategic Communication for Development in South Asia. Presents a synthesis of experiences in applying various communication approaches ranging from mass communication and entertainment education, interpersonal communication, participatory development communication, advocacy and social mobilisation.
Available entirely free online (PDF).
Link: http://goo.gl/KRSzK

International and Development Communication: A 21st-Century Perspective
Bella Mody  
Published by SAGE Publications, 2003
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 9780761929017
Profile: Examines the exciting field of international and development communication and illustrates how this field of study is composed and how it has grown. Revolves around media institutions and the conditions under which they have been used by the state and private capital. With contributions from experts in the field.
Review: "a wealth of current references and sketches a historical overview".
Link:  http://goo.gl/rN9ys

International Communication: Continuity and Change 
Daya Thussu 
Paperback: 384 pages
Published by Bloomsbury USA 2006 (2nd ed)
ISBN-13: 978-0340888926
ISBN-10: 034088892X
Profile: Maps out the expansion of media and telecommunications corporations within the macro-economic context of liberalization, deregulation, and privatization. It then explores the impact of such growth on audiences in different cultural contexts and from regional, national, and international perspectives. Review: "Thussu works across all the important social, economic, and political issues connected to the topic, making thoughtful and persuasive arguments. The book is well organized and highly readable."
Link: http://goo.gl/zaC3Z

Development Communication: What the Masters Say
The Journal of Development Communication 
Vol. 8, Nr. 2, December 1997, 179 pp. 
ISSN 0128-3863.
Link: http://goo.gl/j9IzO

Communication and development: Beyond panaceas 
The Journal of International Communication (JIC)
Vol. 4, Nr. 2, December 1997, 138 pp. 
ISSN 1321-6597.
Published by Routledge.
Issue editor: Bella Mody
Review: http://goo.gl/DRtna

Link: http://goo.gl/HlnS0

Note: these listings are not sponsored and I don't get paid if you buy something. The publisher's page is given where available. Most of the documents are available from other sources such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Communication challenges in Africa

In this video from 2010, Eliya Zulu, Director of the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) describes some of the challenges of communicating development research across Africa.

He identifies three challenges:

(1) the fragmented nature of research knowledge,
(2) the weak capacity to translate knowledge, and
(3) researchers focusing too much on delivering evidence to donors, rather than ensuring the evidence is of high quality.

08 April 2012

How to advocate with video

Advocacy group WITNESS has posted a series of video tutorials on ways to create and use video for advocacy, especially during civic unrest.

They start with a set of basic videos on filming tools and techniques, including camera work. http://www.witness.org/training/resources/filming-tips-techniques

Witness also provides a set of videos focused on advocacy. These are designed for first time users of video for advocacy and as a refresher for experienced practitioners. The videos are 3-5 minutes long and highlight the strengths and challenges of using video for human rights advocacy as well as key items to consider before you pick up a camera. Topics include using mobile phones to take videos, conducting interviews, and editing and distribution. http://www.witness.org/training/how-to-videos

P.S. You might also like these entries: 
198 ways to protest
How to film a revolution
Using video to communicate

OECD call for good practice examples

OECD call for Think Pieces: Good Practice in Communicating Development Results

The OECD DevCom invites all development communication practitioners to contribute short 'Think Pieces' illustrating successful approaches and strategies in communicating the results of development. 

The Think Pieces will constitute background documents for debates during the IDB/DevCom Seminar on "Communicating Development Results" (23-24 April in Washington DC) and will be compiled into a DevCom publication “Good Practice in Communicating Development Results”.

Detailed instructions (PDF): 

Why should you consider submitting a think piece? Because it is…
 A unique opportunity to contribute to a wide collection of good practice and empower development communication practitioners and researchers globally in building their communication strategies and campaigns with a “results” component;
 An opportunity to share your perspective and give feedback on what you and/or your institution are doing in this area;
 An excellent opportunity to get your work published through a DevCom/OECD Development Centre publication and engage in dialogue with top-level policy makers and practitioners around the world.
We encourage Think-Piece submissions from both DevCom members and non-members alike.

Authors could also contribute with Think Pieces in the form of case stories – brief descriptions of members’ experiences of communicating results within a framework of a concrete project or campaign. 
Some questions to consider could be:
In which way does it address the current challenges and demands of communicating 
What was the context?
What worked/did not work well and why?
What are the components that have proven successful in particular circumstances (political commitment, knowledge, tools, partners, messaging, targeting the audience, etc.)?
What were the lessons learnt?
Which practices have specific and/or wider 
Be sure to mention any planned follow-up (resolutions, recommendations, etc.). You can also tell 
one individual’s compelling personal story, use a provocative quote, summarise a new trend, give a “real life” example of an abstract theory, or put a theme into historical context.

How to film a revolution

The Occupy Wall Street protests were a live demonstration of various new tools and techniques, including the use of social media as a coordination mechanism and using 'citizen video' to document events.

The NY Times wrote in December 2011 about the influence of live video in the protests. Two weeks later, the video above, by Corey Ogilvie and Andrew Halliwell, was uploaded to YouTube in order to guide people filming protests, about how to maximise the information collected while minimizing the risk of injury and arrest.

This prompted social media student Chris Rogy to write a blog in April about 'how to film a revolution'. Rogy mentions 'Top 10 tips for filmmakers at protests' by the NGO Witness ('Video for Change'). Witness asks for your ideas on further tips (the correct link is: http://bit.ly/uWdkXI).

Tips for gathering video:
  1. Prepare: know your equipment, know whether you have the legal right to film, etc.
  2. Film with deliberation (plan shots and think about the video as much as the action)
  3. Keep filming
  4. Capture details and incidents (e.g. including places, times, names if relevant)
  5. Work as a team with others taking video (see video above).
Tips for using your videos:
  1. Use brief, descriptive titles.
  2. Add a description about the contents such as date, time, place, event etc.
  3. Use tags e.g. #arrest, #protest etc.
  4. Beware of identifying vulnerable people e.g. use blurring, cropping if necessary. Get legal advice if unsure.
  5. Keep a copy of the video in case it is blocked or deleted online.
Stay safe!

P.S. You might also like:
198 ways to protest
How to advocate with video
Using video to communicate