A simple guide to write about complex topics
If you are attending AfriSIG, there’s some essential reading!
We hope this guide is useful to orientate you on how to generate content related to internet governance while you are participating at AfriSIG and the regional IGF meeting.
First of all, some clues on how to write…
… a blog post
A blog post is where you get to be yourself – use more informal language, express opinions and challenge your readers. blog posts pieces are usually quite short, no more than 500 words, but be warned! They are very lightly edited, if at all. If you want a blog piece to be spell- and grammar-checked, you need to ask the editorial team.
Check previous blog posts for reference:
Now… some words on social media!
- Make sure that you have a Twitter account: Make it open (otherwise people who are not following you – the ones we want to reach- won’t be able to see your tweets). If you want to keep your Twitter account private you can create a new one for work. Make your user name as personal as you can, (eg: sonia_apc rather than womensprogramme_apc). People are more interested in personal opinions and views rather than organisational speech. Writers are expected to use their accounts for tweeting during events.
- We use the hashtags: #AfriSIG2015. APC Twitter accounts are @APC_News @APCNoticias @APCNouvelles.
- Once at the event, find out what hashtag people are using: Sometime there are various hashtags circulating. For instance, with IGF, tweeples could be using various tags — such as #IGF_2015, #IGFBrazil or #IGF2015. Identify the most popular one. We’ll use that hashtag for the box on APC.org.
- Tweet (in different languages): You can quote panelists and participants (short, summarised and catchy phrases) and/or your reactions to what it’s being said, about conversations you have or overhear, your observations, sound bytes, links to interesting resources or news, photos, reminders about events. You can also reply to other participants; many times real participation takes.
- Re-tweet interesting stuff from other people: this will help us build our Twitter audience.
- Blog: Many times you can cut and paste some tweets and replies and make an interesting post with little effort. You can also use tweets for reporting or as a way of taking notes.
- Invite people to share their own writings: You will not be alone in the coverage of an event, so this other people are your allies. Contact them via Twitter or email to give them a heads up on the coverage plans and ask them to send you their stuff.
More tips for tweeting!
Make a plan: Choose your sessions in advance. If you are attending an event with multiple tracks, schedule which sessions you’ll be attending and covering in advance. If you don’t want to cover everything you sit in on, consider what your readers will benefit from the most. Once you decide what you will be covering, prep your posts with these basics to save time:
– Name of the session and speaker: Make sure you can provide a bit of background about the speaker, including links to his/her company, Twitter handle, etc.
– Details of the session: Is there a Slideshare or a programme available that you can review in advance? if so, it may help to type up the basic structure of the presentation and then fill in the details as you listen.
Tip: Be careful. Some events are more private than others; if it’s a small event make sure that people are OK with your tweeting.
Now, regardless of if you are publishing your content in real time or dripping it out, here are some ways to generate interest in your coverage:
– Announce what you will cover: If you are going to be changing your regular posting schedule and publishing live blogs throughout a conference, it’s a good idea to let your readers know. You can also use this post to announce if someone from your organization will be speaking.
Example: Check out what #genderit announced that will be covering at the #CSW59
– Tease your session: If you are speaking at the event, you may want to write about your session before it occurs. Not only is this is a great way to repurpose content that you have spent a lot of time creating, but it also builds anticipation for your session.
Example: Susan Marx wrote about an internet intermediaries’ guide to social media and online VAW fighting strategy, which was a preview of the presentation she gave last year at #CSW58.
– Step-by-step posts: One classic way to cover a session is to do a rundown of the ideas the speaker shared, following the same structure as the presentation. This is especially easy to do if the speaker is covering a process or another well-organized topic.
Example: Susan Marx shared her wrap-up of a panel discussion on how to eradicate online violence against women at the #CSW59.
– Summary of tweets: Another fun thing you can do is follow the Twitter stream during the presentation and record the most insightful and popular tweets and share them in a post (check Storify below).
Example: Missed the event and looking for a compilation of debates? Check our most tweetable moments from #CSW58
– A compilation of Instagram photos: There are a lot of intangibles you experience when attending an event. Capture them by taking photos or curating what others have shared and post that on Twitter (always remember to respect people’s right to privacy and anonymity).
Example: 45 GenderIT.org insider Instagram pics from workshops at #CSW58
– Wrap-up posts. When necessary, instead of covering individual sessions, consider writing a wrap-up post that outlines the key points you found most valuable or compelling, and share the link with a tweet that is appealing and captures the best of the article.
Example: #SectionJ: From footnotes to headlines https://www.apc.org/en/node/20266/
- Take Back the Tech (in English) and APC (in English, Spanish and French) pages are the only official Facebook pages that APC uses.
- You are invited to post on Facebook using your personal account all links and photos considered relevant for the coverage.
- Inviting people at the event to “like” the pages and to post relevant links as well is another possibility.
We always appreciate having pictures to illustrate the articles or for some other purposes, so picture taking is more than encouraged. You can upload them to a Flickr account and send them to APC’s Flickr group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/apcimages/
Videos and audios are great resources when you are doing an event coverage. You can record the interviews and panels, and then decide how you want to use that material, depending on factors like the quality of the audio/video, the permissions you get from the people featured in them, and your capacity to edit the material.
Tip: Please remember that this entails security and privacy issues for the people in the pictures / videos, so make sure that the people appearing in the image is fine with that.
Storify has been successfully used during some events to compile relevant tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and other social media posts. It’s a fast and easy way to compose blog posts-like content. Its also a very useful tool to condense and store in one place debates or interviews carried over Twitter, for instance (as in the first example below).
One last word
- Please contact Leila Nachawati (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Yolanda Mlonzi (email@example.com) to send us your articles and other materials, so we can publish them in http://african-ig-school.events.apc.org/ and apc.org
- Also please do write to us if you have any questions about topics to cover, what to write, where to publish, etc.
- Have fun! We want you to enjoy this experience as much as possible.