Social reporter gets tree interview exclusive

Ed Pomfret - The Woodland Trust from Yemisi Blake on Vimeo.

If you are a mainstream journalist the biggest buzz – as I recall anyway – comes from other journos following up your stories. Exclusive! I’m getting a lot of cheer from other bloggers saying they find some value in the idea of social reporting. New tag! Yemisi Blake just sent me this brilliant example:

Last week I had coffee with a group of social entrepreneurs and innovators. We were discussing a conference that should be happening in November (I’ll keep you posted). One of the people I met was David Wilcox (Social Reporter). We only had a short conversation, but it was one of those that made me shift my gaze on what I do slightly. Social reporting! On my way to my next meeting, I was thinking about how David described what he does. Just as I approached Charing X station, I walked into my first social reporting experience. There were a group of people dressed as trees, holding a petition and trying to get the public to sign up. Armed with my Zoom H2 and new Canon Ixus, I decided to speak to the main tree!

The first thing that caught my attention was their costumes. Didn’t expect the Macbeth connection. Fantastic!

I love the fact that a conversation and tag helps someone as accomplished as Yemisi come up with another piece of creativity. Or maybe he’s just doing a bit of rebranding. Doesn’t matter. We’ll be having coffee again to see what we can do together.

Meanwhile over in Portugal Bev Trayner, with whom I’m doing some work, is embedding the practice of social reporting in design of events and workshops informed by her academic and practical experience of communities of practice:

A social reporter is born, not when you explain how to use the tools, nor when you have set out possibilities of a “shared resource” (or whatever), but a social reporter blossoms when they feel the power of capturing and presenting a story with a quick turnaround. Getting people to create an account in flickr or to create a slideshow and embed code in webpage is very very quick when someone is motivated in their role of capturing and representing stories as they go along.

So in contrast to some of the discussions about social reporting (for example, see the comments to David Wilcox post Organise social reporters? Up to a point) my starting point for a social reporter would not be to create members of a “digital army”, nor to start with “digital mentors”, nor to start with a “skill set” or list of tools for social reporters. My starting point is  the stories, or snippets of stories, that some people on the inside of the community want to catch about themselves – and then looking for ways to support and extend the ways they represent and talk about those stories. The big talk of what’s possible is good for getting funding (and clients) but it’s the little incremental steps and modeling that changes a community’s practice.

So what is socialreporting? Don’t really know until a few more people start doing it … Thanks.

One comment

  • October 13, 2008 - 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi David,

    Thanks for posting my little experiment.
    What is social reporting, very good question! We have a similar issue in the poetry world.
    What exactly is poetry?

    I like to thing that with each poem or social report we’re creating new answers.



  • Comments are closed.