Yesterday, I talked about extending the conversation, jumping out of our social media fishbowl and swimming among the people. How can we reach more of the “mainstream,” share what we’re doing with them, and empower them to participate? Today, I want to offer five ways we might be able to bring about some change. Much as I love all my fellow goldfish, I want to swim with the humans.
Build A Local Community Blog
Yesterday, in the comments section, Doug Haslam mentioned that he started a few community blogs. I think this is a great way to demonstrate the power of social media. Are you a parent? Start a community blog about activities for kids. Are you into cycling or running? Use a blog to discuss interesting routes, tips you’ve learned, and keep the local flavor.
ACTION:Invite your fellow community members to post on the blog. Most blog software now permits email-based submissions. Build an account. Get them set up to post via email.
I’m forever excited when I read about a Thomas Hawk or Steve Garfield photowalk. The premise is simple: get a bunch of people together, snap photos, post them online for everyone to share. Setting up a photoblog is simple. Simple for YOU, at least. Why not set up a photoblog, and empower people to email photos to it from their cameraphone? Give them a shared Flickr account and then post the feed directly into a blog. It’s a quick way to get people’s work together out into the open, and lets people feel a pride of ownership. Extra points for encouraging them to blog a bit about the photos, techniques, and more while they post photos.
Make a TalkShoe Show
Using TalkShoe is a good “gateway drug” to audio podcasting and building a radio show. They make it easy for one person to administer all the bells and whistles, but for others just to be able to call into the show and participate. When I first used it, I dialed in from my cell phone, pushed in a PIN like you do for a conference call, and I was part of the conversation. Talk about easy. An audio podcast that starts as a live on-air, scheduled radio show is a GREAT analogy to get people podcasting, because they understand the format: live talk show, phones, everyone gets a chance. See? Easy-cheesy. And you can repost the downloads (TiVo for Radio, I’ve heard people say to explain podcasts with no jargon).
Go the local library, request the use of one of their rooms to teach people how to do videoblogging, and then just schedule and promote it. Put up little posters (make them colorful!) at the local grocery store, the schools, the watering holes. See who might come in to learn about it. But here’s the trick: call it “Getting More out of Your Camcorder: Beyond Birthday Videos.” That’ll drag in would-be videographers in hiding, and then, you can trick them into videoblogging. Yes, that’s right. Trick them. Set up a blog and a Blip.tv or a Vimeo account, and show them how to post the first few. Start with very little editing, maybe just adding titles, and offer a follow-on course for the rest.
Host a PodCamp or Join a Social Media Club
Or some other kind of “new media” sharing event. Sure, I’m the co-founder of PodCamp, so I’m biased, but basically: invite your local community (look for the media types, the tech types, art students, film students, PR, marketers, small businesses), find a venue where everyone can share what they know, and make it free, open, and uncomplicated. Invite the community to suggest topics they want covered, but warm up the conversation by asking your local social media friends to come up with topics that will be useful for the newcomers as well as tracks for the experienced. Check out Social Media Club as well. This is a great organization started and run by some great people.
There are just five suggestions. You probably have some great ideas I haven’t considered. Notice in all cases, I focused on how to reach out to people who aren’t already in the fishbowl. In all cases, I sprinkled in some pointers for how such products could actually even be funded or sponsored. But you decide how you want to manage that. My goal is the conversation overall.
What could you do in YOUR community to get this going?