#2: Social/ political advocacy groups online: Sharing news

I have spent quite a bit more time since my last practiucm post trying to get more involved with my chosen social/ political advocacy groups online. To recap the bulk of my focus is on the large, global advocacy group known as Amnesty International (AI). I started by checking out the website, joining the facebook group, following them on twitter etc. I did the same for Rock the Vote, which encourages youth political involvment; mainly voting. I’ve alway checked out smaller, local advocacy groups…certainly not all groups have the scope or audience as Amnesty International or Rock the Vote. (I intend to discuss these smaller groups, as compared to larger organizations, and their use of the internet in another post- so look for that!)

So far my attempts to socialize and get involved in Amnesty International and Rock the Vote online have been largely unsuccesful, leading me to think that these organizations prefer to use the internet, particularly social media, as a way of sharing information. Engaging directly with their audiences and encouraging their audiences to engage with each other seems somewhat less important. I’ve come to this conclusion for a few reasons. First, the far and away majority of posts/ tweets by Amnesty International and Rock the Vote share information, rather than ask questions. That is, they tend to be news stories which concern their cause. In the case of Amnesty International, their posts bring attention to news articles and events concerning human rights. These news posts/ tweets are highly frequent. Second, my attempts to engage in debate/discussion through Facebook and twitter were largely unsuccessful. I commented on and tweeted in response to several of the news stories posted by AI and didn’t get much back. Sure, I got a few likes on some of my points or comments (PHOTO), but didn’t received any engaged feedback by the organization or other users. It seems like the posts are published and users proceed to voice their own opinions, but there isn’t that much actual building on the prior comments. Communication is somewhat one way…

Also, I tried to put myself out there on AI and Rock the Vote’s Facebook pages by giving a brief rundown of my project. I posted on the wall that I chose these organizations due to my interest in their causes and I asked members/ users to share how they got involved and they used the internet to facilitate in their engagement in the advocacy group. Both AI and Rock the Vote deleted my posts nearly immediately 😦  I was surprised that my questions weren’t accepted by the organizations. I think they should encourage such questions to highlight the positive affect that the internet may have on garnering member invomnlvement. Specifically for AI, I feel like their message may be lost by the constant posting of current events. Their content is updating so quickly that members’ focus (and AI themselves) seems to move too quickly to facilitate effective, satisfactory discussion focused on specific issues they would like to take action on. Advocacy draws its strength from sustained, compelling debate so they should not miss this important opportunity!

Look for my continued attempts to get involved online, as well as a comparative look at large vs. smaller organizations’ use of the internet. Also looking forward to profiling the users/ members of these advocacy groups to better know what types of people are attracted to and get involved in online advocacy.

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Practicum – Media Fandom

I was assigned the Media Fandom project from the Online Communities group. The instructions say to join an online discussion board devoted to some media fandom, which could be TV, Music, Movies, Gaming, etc. I figured I would go for one of my favorite TV shows, which (as a series) goes back decades. Considering this is such an old TV series, and the fans are die-hards, I figured it would make for an interesting topic.

I began my search with “Doctor Who” in Google (this is where my nerdy side comes out… where I whip out my Muppets T-shirt that says “Nerdy – Born this way” with Beaker and Dr Bunsen Honeydew).

I came across numerous sites that appeared to be more Fan-based.

http://www.GalifreyOne.com – this is a convention site, without any discussion boards. Fail.

http://nitro9.earth.uni.edu/doctor/homepage.html – this is DEFINITELY a Web 1.0 site, with tons of links (which, by the way, do not get me anywhere). Going through the numerous links brought chills; I’m too much of a Dr. Who fan, this project could be dangerous. To make a long story short, the links found in this website produced a number of discussion boards that had long since expired, and brought me back to square one.

Since these keywords in the Google search were not giving me much, I tried again “Dr. Who Discussion Boards” which brought me to the 1st on the list : SyFy Forums! Score 1 for Jenny! I have not participated in chats yet. I’m holding back a little before I catch up on the latest episodes, for fear of spoiler alerts. So it goes, I’ll have to begin my 45 posts tomorrow, after our first quiz.