Social media: covering an event

Yesterday or today (depending on your time-zone) is the second World Wide Photo Walk Day, the brainchild of photographer Scott Kelby. You can read all about it at the homesite for the event. Some of us signed up for a walk through our city Toowoomba in south-east Queensland, Australia. What really appealed to me was the idea of a whole lot of people taking photographs of a chosen location on the one day – the coverage, the coverage! Of course, there’s the social aspect of such an event, and the chance to get out into the crisp, winter air and hunt out locations that you rarely see as you whizz around in your busy life. We chose to shoot the back lanes and rarely seen corners of the city. What also appealed to me was the opportunity to cover the event using social media. Here’s how I tackled it.

I began the morning with an Audioboo via my iPhone indicating what we would be doing during the photowalk, and followed up with one an hour or so later. ‘Mini podcast’ Audioboos are only possible via the iPhone at the moment, though surely they will come to other smart phones soon.  You can attach a photo and a GPS map for reference to your boos as well as tags for searching. I found later that I hadn’t tagged these Audioboos correctly, as I hadn’t checked the hashtag #SKPhoto for the event – my bad! I did however hashtag all subsequent posts and references to the event for the global archive. Because of the way I’ve set up my Audioboo and Friend Feed, my boos arrived almost immediately in Friend Feed, and were relayed out to Twitter. This kept my followers in the know, and spread the word about the event. There was still time for others enjoying their Friday elsewhere in the world to check out the event and sign up – indeed this is what happened with a couple of people who responded to my tweets.

After the shoot had completed, I culled, batch-named and tagged the images and uploaded them as an album via iPhoto to my Flickr, where they became a discrete set. This is done with one click inside iPhoto. Again, because of my Friend Feed set-up, they arrived in my Home stream and news of the upload was then relayed out to Twitter complete with a hotlink to ‘World Wide Photo Walk – Toowoomba 2009‘. Using Twitter this way is a great way to get people to stop by your Flickr photostream, and to leave comments, and also to make new contacts; this is the ‘social’ part. I’m hoping some of the others on our walk will give me a hint or two about which photos to upload to the event homesite; there are prizes to be had! The completed website should be sensational, providing a diverse glimpse of July 18, 2009 around the world.

Now finally, here’s the reflective blogpost which sums up the way I went about covering a particular event for sharing beyond the confines of a small group – maybe an outing like this, but also a holiday, trip, or a special family event perhaps. Using your online lifestream is a terrific way to share all kinds of media. Take the time at the outset to learn how to set up your various social networks to play together nicely, and to save you time and effort.

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