Soundbites from Social Activism Day
Organise Activate Influence took place in Dublin today.
Firstly a message for European Commission Vice President Margot Wallström Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy. Your comment at the end of your video address was totally incorrect. You said that it’s such a pity there aren’t that many women bloggers. Well you should research the audience you’re speaking to because in the audience today we had Martha Rotter, Red Mum, Maman Poulet, Alexia, Krishna De, The Raving Reporter, Sharon Fennell and more… your comment also brought a roar from twitter and a word in my ear from Sharon who was sitting beside me to say “Women don’t talk about blogging, they just get on with it”.
Here are some of the main nuggets I took from the speakers on the day – who were I must add – all of a very high quality:
Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, etc. all worked with the Chinese to build the great Chinese firewall. It also emerged that Yahoo! had provided information to the Chinese authorities on what political agitators were doing via their yahoo mail accounts. The launch of the Chinese Google opposes everything they said they stood for. They say they stand for free speech, but here they are launching an engine that censors information.
On 45th anniversary of Amnesty International in 2006, they launched a campaign called irrepressible.info. People can add a widget to Facebook or their site that shows snippets from sites that had been censored. 80,000 + people signed up to this.
Irrepressible campaign major outcome – the big 3 companies stopped saying there was nothing wrong with what they were doing. They came to the table in Jan 2007 with Amnesty International and Reporters San Frontiere to discuss freedom of speech. These talks are ongoing. Results are a year overdue, but expected soon.
It’s not just repressive regimes that black the internet. Two years ago, the FBI seized Indymedia’s servers in the UK to take a couple of photos allegedly showing police in agent provacateur positions. Authorities across the world think they can do what they like when it comes to online. It’s only by joining in the campaigns against that they can be stopped.
Love Amnesty. And they rock online.
- He subscribes to the RTE news Twitter feed even though he doesn’t know who set it up, or where it came from!
- Common belief was that Lisbon was going to pass. But people online knew more was going on. RTE tried to utlise the RTE site to reflect the vibe and dialogue that was going on about Lisbon that wasn’t getting heard on traditional media.Because there was no exit poll taken, RTE teamed up with Rock the Vote and went to polling stations around the country with video cameras on the day. Social media changed the way the Lisbon story played out.
- RTE’s blogging servers were only purchased because the young people’s channels wanted a blog! It’s an uphill struggle with the powers that be in Montrose in terms of switching on to youtube, blogs, etc. But they are realising the marketing potential because the blog is helping their SEO ranking.
- The good news is that Broadcasting Bill currently before the Oireachtas will allow RTE to use license fee money for online. But it’s the same pot of money to be split across tv and radio and move some into online. We must agitate to get RTE to stop funding crap TV and radio shows and fund online. All forms of traditional media are dropping both in revenue and in usage, but the online is growing every year by about 70% and is still not considered part of mainstream media by the powers that be.
- In questions – why is crappy Realplayer used on RTE? Because it’s not platform specific. But the new RTE iPlayer will be Flash based.
NEXT UP: A Great Session From Damian from Askdirect.ie about the A-Z of guerilla activism campaigns. So good that it warrants a separate blog.
Following lunch I attended the workshop on journalism and blogging.
Harry McGee the political correspondent from The Irish Times – the Irish political blog only started this summer. Deaglun de Breadun and himself write for it. So far in this country there has been zero impact of blogs on election coverage. There is only a small audience interested in blogs. Is growing though.
Richard Delevan – tells story of how he was covering the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis the year that the sisters came down from Belfast. In quiet periods, he was writing blog posts. They got huge traffic and that really showed to him that news gets traffic. Mentions crowdsourcing – if there’s a lot of news going on, the opinion of the crowd will find the correct story.
Joe Zefran commented that RTE blogs are behind firewalls and are not accessible by journo’s out on a story.
But during the election coverage, there was some fun news that wouldn’t make it to the news, that made it to the election blog. The 4 year old who gave Enda Kenny lip at a barber’s on election trail.
The day ended with an interesting session by Zack Exley. I was very interested in his comments about how Obama is engaging with communities in the run-up to this presidential election. There was a lot of questions after about the Irish blogosphere and how can we get more of a say when it comes to politics. My own thought on that is that the answer is ‘eircom’. As long as they maintain their stranglehold on the network, we will be constrained by broadband. As long as that remains the case, there will only be a minority who are online. Take from that those who don’t care and you are left with a tiny number. No way are we going to shake up the state.