We're ALL IN: social reporting
As part of our ALL IN project, we're encouraging youth organisations to try out social reporting. We spoke to Jeni Bainbridge and Rosie Hope McIntosh to get their seven top tips on using social reporting with young people.
Jeni is Senior Policy Officer at Children in Scotland and used social reporting as part of the Beyond4Walls project in Glasgow, exploring housing and community through the eyes of children and young people. (Check out #tenancytakeover on Twitter)
Rosie is Director at Third Sector Lab and supports people all over Scotland to tell their stories and have their voices heard, particularly around mental health issues. She’s used social reporting as a tool for this many times and trains people on how to get the best from it.
Social reporting involves using a wide range of content such as blogs, photographs, video, podcasts and sound bites to develop conversations and stories. Young people can use social reporting to document their experiences of inclusive youth work as part of this project.
- It’s all in the planning! You get the best from social reporting by collaborating with others who will also be part of it and planning which social media platforms you’re going to use and what you want to cover. Try to spread out across different social media spaces and capture your experience in creative ways. For example, you might like to have someone on Instagram, someone else recording short interviews on their smartphone and uploading to Twitter or Facebook and someone sharing Snapchat stories… all using the same hashtag.
- Hashtag hero. Coming up with a great hashtag that captures what you’re about in a snappy way will take you far. It’s important to check ahead that this isn’t being used lots by others or in a different way (maybe with quite a different meaning!) Be careful. Once you’ve chosen, make sure everyone is clear on what it is and encourage people to tag their social media posts with this so you can draw it all together at the end.
- Equip yourselves. Most people will have a smartphone nowadays, but you can also be a social reporter using a camera or a handheld recorder and then upload your content later on. However you decide to capture the event, make sure everyone is clear about the equipment they’re using and has had a chance to try out the different methods (audio recording, short films, photographs, making gifs) in advance. This makes everything run much smoother on the day. Also, sound quality is really important so you might want to invest in a microphone for audio recordings (you can get small adapters for smartphones).
- Consent. Most importantly, people have to be clear about your role as a social reporter and give permission for you to capture their image and/or voice. It’s handy to have coloured dot stickers available for those who don’t give consent so that you can spot them and be sure not to include them in anything you upload. Keep a short consent form to hand so you can get release from those you interview to use their image and you could offer to @mention them when sharing too.
- Draw others into your story by posing questions within your recording – provoke creative conversations across the different platforms you’re using and capture these interactions in your final story.
- Social reporting should be fun and free! It’s not about precision and detail, it’s about capturing how people feel about something in a creative way. So don’t worry about making a polished film or taking fancy photos. Treat the process as an expression and conversation; making use of different platforms to their full effect.
- Keep it simple! Your reporting should be short, to the point and with accessible language – it makes it far easier to share and enjoy with lots of people. Bring it all together in a Storify report – then you can add comments and choose which order you’d like things to appear.
We’ve also put together a beginner’s guide to social reporting for youth work practitioners. Got even more you want to share? Collate all of your content with Storify and send a link to Emily Beever. We’d love to hear about your experiences and see how creative you’ve been.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.