Next week is the big 2010 Alliance for Community Media conference and people from access centers all over the country will be converging on Pittsburgh to network with one another and discuss community media, PEG TV and all the possibilities the future affords. Attendees will be able to choose from six different tracks this year including:
- Citizen Journalism & Social Media
- Community Media Center Management, HR & Board Development
- Fundraising & Collaborations
- Engineering, Broadband, Network management & Related Issues
- Media & Telecom Policy
- Community Engagement, Training & Marketing/Outreach
Our good friend Colin Rhinesmith from CCTV in Cambridge Massachusetts has been charged with leading the Citizen Journalism and Social Media track and I was lucky enough to have been asked to present on the “Using Social Media to Serve the PEG Community and NonProfit Organizations” panel on July 9th. I will be joining Colin, Lee Webster the iYouth Director at channelAustin and Jason Daniels the Executive Director at ECAT in North Easton, MA to discuss the way our centers utilize social networking to inform our communities and strengthen our alliances with NonProfit Organizations.
We were each asked to develop a short presentation on how our own social media strategies have proven to be successful. I have chosen to focus on how VCAM has used social networking in an attempt to build an online identity that is faithful to the values and spirit in our mission. The following are some of the bullet points that I have started putting together for the panel discussion:
Social networking is sharing culture:
- Social media, unlike the “dreaded” newsletter, we don’t have to think of everything to share with our audience.
- We frequently share news items (blog posts, tweets, photos, video – any content shared via social networking) from sources that aren’t directly related to our organization but are related to the spirit and values of our mission. Net neutrality, rural broadband, copyright and creative commons, media access, fair use, free speech etc.
- It is all part of illustrating a larger context and sharing the greater culture around our organization.
- Sharing is key: The power of the retweet or “share” functions: sharing content that originated outside oour center (news from a partner nonprofit org partner for example) = speed skating relay (i.e. teamwork, partnerships)
- By sharing information that others in our social media network have created, we are helping push information further and to more people than the originator of the content could do alone.
- Not only are we indicating to our own network of followers that we value the information we are retweeting, we’re also telling the creator of the content that we appreciate what they have to offer and are willing to help their cause.
- Why do nonprofits come to VCAM? A fundamental principle of ours: We’re here to help others get important information out to their community. Social media is an extension of that commitment.
Strategy around content created by our staff:
- We try to distribute all of our own news throughout our network, link to blog posts and newsletter (constant contact) via Twitter and Facebook, Tweet “round-ups” on the blog etc.
- Redundancy is OK in fact has proven quite useful for us.
- If we shoot a short PSA we’re going to put it on our channel, upload it to blip.tv & YouTube > embed the video in our blog > link to the blog post via Twitter > and share a link to the blogpost on our FB wall.
- Cast a wide net.
Direct benefits of developing our network:
- It has enabled us to offer more effective social media workshops to our nonprofit partners.
- More and more people are listing our social media network as how they heard about our organization and/or know about our workshops.
- Through discussions with many of our members we are noticing a growing familiarity with the larger context of community media (i.e. legislation and policy, challenges associated with evolving technology in relation to our funding structure, why advocacy is essential etc.) and many people have credited our Facebook page and Twitter feed for keeping up to date with important issues facing PEG.
- These are things that have worked for VCAM and every center is different..so listen to your community, find out what tools they are using and shape your social media strategy around where they are interacting.
- When developing your social media network remember the phrase “Redundancy is a plus….consistency is a must”
- Lastly, for those folks just starting to develop their social media network and online identity: There are thousands of social media experts out there – feel free to ignore them all. (Just have fun with it)
I hope to update this blog post as the list develops……
Note: Post was updated on 7/9/10 in preperation for panel discussion.
VCAM is preparing to send it’s delegation to Pittsburgh, PA for the Alliance for Community Media’s national conference. The conference is taking place from July 7-11th at the Hilton in Pittsburgh. I (Rob Chapman) will be making the over-ten-hour drive, with Operations Director Seth Mobley and Production Technician Jim Kelty in the car. Scott Campitelli and Drew Frazier from RETN will also help with the driving duties. The conference happens every year in July. Over 400 people will attend the conference, including access center staff, access producers, board members and vendors. It’s an opportunity to network with community media minded people, to learn about the latest communication technologies and to develop strategies for defending against threats to PEG access — whether it’s some piece of legislation, some regulatory changes or negotiation tactics for franchises. It’s also a great opportunity to see what PEG access looks like in other areas of the country and to bring our own skills to our fellow access providers. We’re very excited that our own Seth Mobley will be serving on a panel that deals with developing outreach strategies associated with social media. We’ll let you know what we find out.
Welcome to VCAM’s Friday dump of links we found to be of interest in the last week. We hope to bring you a list like this each Friday. These are links that we stumble across during the week that seem relevant to VCAM specifically or community media in general. We tend to post these links to our Facebook and/or Twitter feeds as we find them. We just thought it might be useful (to us here in the office as well as to our members and followers) to collect these in one easy-to-find spot each week. So here goes…
- VCAM is proud to be a sponsor of The Vermont International Film Festival, taking place at the Palace 9 Cinemas Oct. 23- Nov. 1. The festival released it’s schedule this week. Check it out! (Also, follow the festival on Twitter and Facebook.)
- A Wisconsin Representative introduced a bill in the US House this week aimed at preserving community access centers’ funding. Congratulations, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI) you’re the community media heroine of the week! Read more about the bill on Congresswoman Baldwin’s website.
- Check out the Open in Vermont booth at the Vermont 3.0 Innovation Jam at the Sheraton on Monday October 26. It’s run by a bunch of Vermonters committed to the free and open source software movement. Stop by and learn more!
- There was a lot of buzz this week about tiny Vermont craft brewers, Rock Art Brewery, getting hounded with legal trademark letters from the lawyers at the corporate offices of Monster Energy drinks. The lawyers didn’t like Rock Art’s use of the word “Vermontster” on their recent 10% barley wine release. Green River Pictures (our neighbors!) made a little informational video about the situation featuring an interview with Rock Art owner, Matt Nadeau.
- This week the US House Energy and Finance Committee unanimously passed the Local Community Radio Act. Now the bill must go the floor of the House for a vote. Another small victory for LPFM and community media! Contact your representative today to say it’s time to pass the Local Community Radio Act, HR 1147 (VT Rep. Peter Welch is already on board — thank him!).
It’s gotten to the point where we don’t really need to encourage people to stop by the VCAM/RETN studios for Art Hop anymore. We’re pretty slammed with folks all night long on the Friday of Art Hop, and we get a good number of folks through the door on Saturday too. Still, if you’re wondering where to start your hop, the 208 Flynn complex is loaded with art, performances, food and drink. The Flynndog Art Gallery, Outer Space Cafe, Select Design, Propeller Media Works, VCAM and RETN will all be hosting what has become the biggest party of the year in this end of town.
Here in VCAM we’ll have art from more than a dozen artists in many different media, great food (we’ve gotten a reputation for good food at Art Hop) and DJ Disco Phantom will be spinning in our studio.
If you’ve never been to VCAM for Art Hop, it’s worth stopping by. Look for the big lights on the roof!
BHS teen filmmaker Graham Raubvogel has written and directed a short film for the high school filmmaking club that met at VCAM on Fridays during the last school year. We shot the film at VCAM with a cast and crew made up of professional filmmakers and film club students, resulting an a veritable master class in filmmaking. Eat your heart out, Maine Workshops!
If you click through to Vimeo you can watch the film in HD.
VCAM producers Bill Villemaire, Forrest Scrivens and Paul Nichols are featured in this week’s Seven Days, talking about their show, The Advocacy Team. Check it out!