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The processes and outcomes of social media

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REPORT ON
THE PROCESSES, VALUES
AND OUTCOMES OF
SOCIAL MEDIA
Student Name: CHIOMA NWAMAKA AGWUEGBO
Student ID: AGW10509175...
CONTENT PAGE
Introduction……………………….…………Page 2
Evaluation…………………............................Page 4
Recommendation…………………………...
INTRODUCTION
All my life I’ve been involved in crafting content for the media, one way or the other. From
an early age I w...
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The processes and outcomes of social media

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One of the first essays I had to turn in at BCU, we had to trace how we thought we had grown by attending a series of events, blogging about them, and then creating a portfolio which we would then evaluate. Phew!

One of the first essays I had to turn in at BCU, we had to trace how we thought we had grown by attending a series of events, blogging about them, and then creating a portfolio which we would then evaluate. Phew!

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The processes and outcomes of social media

  1. 1. REPORT ON THE PROCESSES, VALUES AND OUTCOMES OF SOCIAL MEDIA Student Name: CHIOMA NWAMAKA AGWUEGBO Student ID: AGW10509175 Course Title: SOCIAL MEDIA AS CULTURE Tutor: DAVE HARTE Submission Date: 26th November, 2010.
  2. 2. CONTENT PAGE Introduction……………………….…………Page 2 Evaluation…………………............................Page 4 Recommendation…………………………….Page Portfolio………………………………..…….Page Annotatedbibliography……………………...Page References……………………………………Page
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION All my life I’ve been involved in crafting content for the media, one way or the other. From an early age I would consume radio, television or print content with my father and have a lot either commending or pointing out the shortcomings of each of these media. It became such a ritual that by the time I started studying mass communication as an undergraduate, many a time he would call just to tell me of something new he had watched, read or listened to. After graduation I worked as a producer and broadcaster on a couple of radio stations before becoming a content researcher, scriptwriter and radio drama producer for the BBC World Service Trust in Nigeria. My earliest interaction with a social media tool (which I didn’t know it was at the time) was in 2008 when a lot of my friends who had become an audience for my notes and poems on Facebook said I should get a blog because it would make me look more professional. I did, got me the address www.chroniclesofthefairygodsister.blogspot.com; problem with that was I soon found out that a lot of people didn’t love me enough to type in that excruciatingly long URL, plus BlogSpot at the time wasn’t very easy to comment on. I have since moved to www.fairygodsister.wordpress.com My decision to study Social Media at Birmingham City University was reached the day I found out (by accident) that blogs were more than a place to drop interesting write-ups, that Birmingham was/is a big hub of social media and activities around it, and that there was a way and manner to craft content to get different things done, and reach different audiences. This report discusses my earliest introductions to the concepts of Social Media and where I am now with it. It will also dwell on the effects this course and literature have had on my perception and current use of social media tools and networks.
  4. 4. EVALUATION Start from the fact that thanks to visa problems, by the time I resumed I had missed about two classes and a couple events including the Birmingham Social Media Café. From the first class, I learnt that culture, whether as art or lived experiences are an expanding phenomenon, with all its elements constantly expanding, according to Raymond Williams. Perhaps the influx of information by various collaborators and contributors is testimony to that fact too, even though not everyone uses social media for positive purposes. Fast forward a couple of weeks later, Jennifer Jones in her session talked about how media coverage of the Olympics has expanded from the traditional, ‘professional’ journalists to non-accredited journalists and more recently, aided by new media and technologies, citizen journalists. At the Hyper Local Gov. Camp ‘unconference’ the class attended later that day, even though I didn’t get over the despondency I felt, I was intrigued with Open Data and how a community can use information released by their authorities to demand and compel efficiency in the public services they receive. I also learnt about social media surgeries from one of the sessions and I was excited about it since I was on a high from hearing in class about the effects a group of bloggers in a small town called Juarez had on make-up giants, MAC. http://www.elleuk.com/news/Beauty-News/mac-and- rodarte-collaboration-cancelled Next event? The Multi-Platform Story Telling and Social Capital event at the MAC. High point of the event was sharing a smile with a classmate because we would relate to a statement credited to Clay Shirky. Truly, the things that one person could do five years ago can now be doubled if not tripled by reason of collaboration by more people thanks to technology. Examples abound in Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, hyper local blogs, and other social media tools.
  5. 5. I heard of Social capital for the first time that day when Helga Henry talked about it. http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/116/ Afterwards my classmates and I held a mini surgery where we discussed the technical and editorial challenges with blogging, and I built friendships I’m drawing from now, talk about Bourdieu, Coleman and Becker’s view of social relationships! They have the same underlying principles of “benefit through participation and membership of a network”, even though their definitions of social capital differ. I must confess at this point that like my blog, I was ignorant of the potentials complexities with Twitter and Facebook and had hitherto used them as just tools to keep in touch with friends I already had (which is a function but not all they are for). Reading the article on passionate and honest tweets, I learnt that twitterers use words like television would use pictures. Learning about Soraya Darabi and how she would research her audience to determine what she would tweet about meant that twitter could be used as a marketing tool (didn’t know that before) and the kind of people that follow you are determined by your tweets. By this time, my confidence levels were rising and I was beginning to enjoy the course and looking forward to classes. Then came the Hello Business event that we had to prepare for by reading the Power of Information review done in 2007. That document was very insightful and gave reasons for some of the things that I’ve thought about before; for example, the largest websites today (Wikipedia, Google, etc.) are the ones that bring people together information created by the people who use them. Every time I read a recommendation done by the panel set up, I said a prayer for my country; because I know that with the way things are now, even the passage of the Freedom of Information bill (which hasn’t been ratified yet) will be but another toothless bull dog.
  6. 6. That said, the Hello Business was very useful for me; apart from the sessions I captured here http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/beyond-2010-getting-ready%e2%80%a6-2/, I made new friends and I’m looking forward to an internship at Ember television sometime next year. The only issues I had with it is that I still haven’t understood if it was the Beyond 2010, Hello Digital, or Hello Business event we attended. The lecture with Jon Hickman shook the foundations of my naivety and ignorance about social media. Alas, the concept I had considered my genie and the key to unlocking wonders for my career were punctured by three things 1. Social Capital was academic (and that’s not a problem, I just didn’t know at the time) 2. Even though there was the relationship between social capital and finances (especially in definitions), there was a lot more to it than that 3. Social capital even had negative outcomes! http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/this-thing-called-social-capital/ was where I ran to to express my thoughts from that class. It also details the reading I did after that class, because I needed to understand it; and because I felt like I wanted to personally research before accepting what Jon said so what happened to me with Helga Henry wouldn’t happen again! A challenge with all of this learning is that the audience I had built for the blog is not interested in academic works of the blog and complains that the fun and interesting parts of it are gone. Above is the latest (and most subtle) of complains I have received about that. I am currently at a loss of how to explain to them that there is a distinction between the personal articles and the walk towards my professional development publishing academic articles; I lack the space to express myself in a professional, scholarly way.
  7. 7. I have since been to another Birmingham Social Media Café and even though I had opportunities to talk to a number of people about my idea for the Enterprise course, it didn’t fulfil the objective of getting people to form friendships beyond the safety of their computers and smart phones. Everyone seemed to talk to only people they already knew, and some point it actually seemed like a sort of market where everyone tried to push their wares and ideas (including me). I’ve watched my blog grow from being just a chronicle of events to a foundation that discussions and debates can be based on; I’ve learnt the value of using hashtags in blogs and on Twitter, and from Jennifer Jones class on archiving tweets I’m currently archiving tweets for a Nigerian artist whose album launch a couple days ago trended on Twitter and even though I don’t know yet what we will do with the archived tweets, I’m excited I did it!
  8. 8. http://twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/MI2?sm=8&sd=1&sy=2010&em=11&ed=26&ey=2010&o=d&l= 10000&from_user=&text=&lang= The Holy Books say something about line upon line, precept upon precept; that’s the way studying Social Media has been for me. It has moved from me wondering if studying this subject was the best thing to do, to a gradual comprehension of what this is all about and I must say, I am more confident than where I was when I first started.
  9. 9. RECOMMENDATIONS First off I would recommend (and have already learnt) that I should not accept things at face value. Using my experience with social capital as an example, I have learnt to give a more critical look at concepts I’m introduced to and challenge them based on personal research or a second opinion before accepting them as Bible. On blogging, I should move beyond the theoretical knowledge I’ve garnered on video blogging (vlogging) and the use of audio to actually using them in a blog post. I must also strike a balance between academic writings and personal, everyday experiences my audience was used to. I should either create another blog to cater to academic writing or compartmentalize the blog to cater to the different audiences. Finally I would recommend that I need to read a lot more on the concepts of and around Social Media, and then be more religious with attending events (and using them for the right reasons). Coming from my background as a late adopter, that will be a good way of catching up with my peers.
  10. 10. PORTFOLIO OF BLOG POSTS 1. THE HYPER LOCAL GOVCAMP EVENT Posted: October 13, 2010 in Blogs from and about school, http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/the-hyper-local-govcamp-event/(519words) and www.masocialmedia.posterous.com on October 13, 2010. To start with, I was terrified when I was told my class had to attend the Hyper Local Gov. Camp event, and with good cause too; before then, I had sat through a class where we discussed Marwick’s “I tweet passionately, honestly and truthfully” and I felt a little out of place but let’s leave that alone shall we?. In discussing that reading, I learnt that people imagine their audiences (whether personal or professional) and that affects their tweets. That however brings up the argument about authenticity using the Soraya Darabi (social media strategist for the New York Times) example because if you study/pre-empt your audience before you tweet, it’s not ‘honest’ anymore. Again, the discussion convinced me that indeed Social Media could be used to effect changes, mobilize a people/community to do stuff and even reach out to leaders, a board or the government. Examples include the Elle/Rodarte controversy http://www.elleuk.com/news/Beauty-News/mac-and- rodarte-collaboration-cancelled and the Students Union Facebook page gathering students together. But, I digress. So we get to this event (thank you @natminter for the ride) and after we settled in, @pigsonthewing gave a brief introduction of what the event was all about and how the sessions would be divided. From the board, I picked the sessions in rooms 309, 100, and 312 and I’ll treat them as headings. 309: SOCIAL MEDIA SURGERIES (Nick Booth and Gavin Wray)
  11. 11. This was my best session. Maybe because both facilitators were warm ( whether you like it or not, it shows), maybe because they clearly explained what a surgery was about and what you can do with one, or maybe because I was hungry for more ways of exploring this big phenomenon called Social Media. If you’re like me, this would be useful. http://www.socialmediasurgery.com/ 100: OPEN DATA. Forgive me for not knowing any names here, and don’t read any meaning into it too! This was a particularly interesting class because it showed what a government should do (or work towards doing) to qualify as being democratic. The Open Data session also taught bloggers, journalists et al how and where to avail themselves of data and how it not only how makes their work richer, but enables them channel their efforts towards community collaboration in more meaningful ways. Enough said. opendata.warwickshire.gov.uk/pages/community 312: POSITIVE COMMUNITY ACTION Again I didn’t get his name, and truthfully, not much else. For me the class was supposed to tell us how to utilize knowledge gained from sessions one and two, and I didn’t get that (blame me for going there with a pre-set mind set)! I however liked the gaming console the facilitator was developing, something about citizens playing as though they were in fantasy land but actually being real life(almost like the Inception movie, if you’ve seen it)! One major lesson I took away from it all is this: there are vast opportunities with Social media and regardless of the limitations peculiar to my country, I’m totally intrigued by it and will grasp all I can! Did I mention that the cakes were absolutely lovely, almost sinful? And yes, I’m no longer upset I didn’t do an interview!
  12. 12. Hyperlinks http://www.elleuk.com/news/Beauty-News/mac-and-rodarte-collaboration-cancelled http://www.socialmediasurgery.com/ opendata.warwickshire.gov.uk/pages/community
  13. 13. 2. SOCIAL CAPITAL AND ME: HOOKED! Posted: October 25, 2010 in Blogs fromand about school, http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/116/ (803 words)and www.masocialmedia.posterous.com on October 21, 2010. My people say that when a child goes to the same market often, he is soon able to find his way there with his eyes closed. Now I can’t say I can find my way around this Social Media market with my eyes closed (yet), but at least I’m not calling Transport for London because I’m lost! (And yes, I have called them for that purpose before but that’s a totally different story)! So again my class had another event to be at -isn’t it great that we have these opportunities to attend these events- this time at MAC Arts Building. From the theme of the conference, ‘Social Capital: A New Currency’, I was more curious than I was terrified like the first one I attended http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/the-hyper-local- govcamp-event/ Somehow I daresay I looked forward to this one! First thing I learnt, social media networks are inter woven in such a way that you’ll always see a face you know at any related event (even if it’s just the faces of your classmates)! So we got there a little late (thanks to the adventure of finding our way there) and only caught the end of Lance Weiler’s interesting session on, ‘Building a Storyworld’. Take away for me? Don’t let the world get in the way of the story, let go of a single point of view, no story is ever cast in stone, I could go on and on and on…..
  14. 14. Next up, Helga Henry did a very insightful presentation on Switchboard and what they are about, traced the origins of Social Capital (which is essentially barter) way back to pre-currency times. I studied Johannes Gutenberg as part of the requirements for a course I did for my first degree; it was good to update my knowledge with some of the things she said. By the way, Helga runs a blog (and plays Agony Aunt too) here – www.developingtalent.posterous.com There was also a live broadcast of a session by Tommy Pallotta, an award winning film Director. More gist on him? www.collapsus.com We took a break here, and I gratefully dug into two croissants (one after the other), shared a high five with @leonieBrueckner for knowing Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus (and thanks to @daveharte for making us read it) and then it was time for the next session. Moderated by Julia Higginbottom of Aquila, Nicky Getgood and Dave Harte (yay) were on the hot seat discussing their blogs www.digbethisgood.com and www.bournevillevillage.com and the power of storytelling in the community. I learnt that at some point, bloggers have to make the editorial decision (based on personal values) on what and what not to feature on their blogs. Nicky gave an example of the time a youth center/lounge/building (I don’t remember which) caught fire and loads of local press reported it; she didn’t. A couple months later, the place re-opened for business, and that’s what she based her story on. I also learnt that you can enrich your blog by using links, audio (www.audioboo.com) and video feeds; more people will feel comfortable contributing to your blog that way than doing regular interviews for traditional media. Now you can stop wondering why I seem to have so many links with this post!
  15. 15. The fifth and final session had power houses like Nick Booth, Natasha Carlish, and Chris Unitt, and was moderated by Helga Henry. The topic for discussion? Social Capital as Currency. I was blown away by the concept behind the film developed and shot on social capital alone; everything was virtually sourced from social networks! www.turbulencefilms.com The concept behind Created in Birmingham is laudable; linking up the interesting arts and culture related activities that happen here, thus becoming one blog among many and playing its part in Birmingham’s online community. If you haven’t already been there, http://www.createdinbirmingham.com I also learnt that Social Capital is not a genie you rub the right way and expect miracles; you invest (the typical garbage in garbage out scenario). You can do this by providing needed help to people (not spamming them); examples include www.socialmediasurgeries.com and www.producersforum.org.uk. With that we wrapped up a lovely evening and… (no we didn’t go home), we headed to the bar where the organizers had graciously opened a tab we had drinks on. It was good to sit and talk about the challenges with blogging, how to measure responses, how to keep the interest up even in discussing sober topics on a blog, and other related questions with @nohaatef, @Ianswallow, @negredo, @kazkiely, and @leonieBrueckner. We had a nice chat with @podnosh too and it was refreshing to know that in the spirit of community collaboration, I can explore text messaging as an alternative where twitter and other social media are not easily accessible. Final word: everyone has social capital; you just need to find out what you can trade.
  16. 16. Hyperlinks http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/the-hyper-local-govcamp-event/ http://www.developingtalent.posterous.com http://www.collapsus.com http://www.digbethisgood.com http://www.bournevillevillage.com http://www.audioboo.com http://www.turbulencefilms.com http://www.createdinbirmingham.com http://www.socialmediasurgeries.com http://www.producersforum.org.uk
  17. 17. 3. IF ONLY WE KNEW……… Posted: November 4, 2010 in Blogs from and about school, www.fairygodsister.wordpress.com 997 words and www.masocialmedia.posterous.com on November 17, 2010. Since I came to Birmingham at the end of September I’ve been amused and fascinated with the town, it’s people, and their cultures. Forget the old ladies I saw this morning wagging their fingers and mouthing off expletives at the young female driver who refused to wait for them to cross the road; it amused me in a sad way (still laughed though) but that’s not the point. Something else that fascinated me (and still does) is the difference in perception between the British and people from outside Europe. I remember talking to daveharte about CCTV here and how it gives me an added sense of security; turns out in Birmingham surveillance cameras are becoming an issue with organizations like BigBrotherWatch, Liberty, No-CCTV etc. mobilizing and calling for the cameras to be pulled down. I’ve talked this over with a few people since then, and the verdict is the same, surveillance cameras are slowly but surely becoming an infringement on their rights to privacy. Truth is I don’t blame them, they have a right to be paranoid when cameras are installed in High School toilets without notifying the children or their parents (even when the school says the cameras were placed only by the sinks), or when there are now devices that can capture audio and direct the cameras towards suspicious sounds on the streets. The plan of all of this is to nip violence in the bud but people are having none of it, claiming that it is part of the plan to turn Britain into a surveillance society. Having said all that, I must say the recent attraction for me is Open Data, its opportunities, complexities, and how it fits in nicely with the idea of the Intelligent Community first step of which is getting Britain online by 2012.
  18. 18. I first heard of Open Data at the Hyper Local Government Camp event, but I didn’t really understand it then. I thought it was only about the government making public their spending data, and using information put out by government agencies to bully them (the government) into doing their jobs (a la Will Perrin and the ‘crackavan story’). Nothing could be farther from the truth! I’ve since come to learn that Open Data does have to with sharing of information (both by the government and its citizens) but it’s a lot more than that. Dwelling on examples from the United States, acclaimed world leaders in data sharing, this presentation sums up the benefits of open government data using the most real to life examples of how even regular organizations achieved success by sharing information on what they couldn’t do on their own! Wikipedia defines Open Data in relation to governments as “holding that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight”. It is worthy of note that Wikipedia is a product of worldwide collaboration and information sharing which is one of the aims of information being put out there and is Charles Leadbeater’s biggest argument for participation rather than mere production and consumption in the creation of the future society. At the Beyond 2010 event, it was great listening to Kate Sahota from Warwickshire Council explain what Open Data is using a popular film, and then tell of how it has helped · Efficiency because more minds on an issue make for an easier workload for the authorities, the people can mash and reuse the data to solve problems of their own; · Transparency, because people are less tempted to pilfer when specifics of their actions are available for public scrutiny; · Accuracy and data quality because everyone becomes a moderator for what is put up.
  19. 19. All she said just re-enforced what David Miller, the Mayor of Toronto said, still on the benefits of Open data, “when you open up data there’s no limit to what people can do. It engages the imagination of citizens in building the city”. Even scholars are realizing the need for Open Access to their work (yay), and quoting Dr. Arianna Betti , a researcher in the field of history of logic, “Right now, we still must choose between Open Access and prestige. Let’s keep our copyright. Let’s put our publications online available in repositories……The future is Open Access”. She was speaking at the Open Access Week, now in its fourth year. As with every other bright looking idea, there are challenges and obstacles to Open Data, first of which is digital exclusion; whether because of the lack of infrastructure or because the people are not just interested in using computers. Open Data also raises questions like how much of public data should the government release, how high is the risk of inaccurate information (which is worse than no information at all); Kate Sahota said something about councils worrying about how they can make money off the data they release, and then there’s the Ordnance Survey (which I still can’t wrap my head around)! Adding credence to Warwickshire’s concerns about selling their data, Charles Leadbeater said, “……..That culture of sharing also makes the web difficult for governments to control and hard for corporations to make money from”. FutureGov asked officials in South Korea, Singapore, the UK and the Netherlands whether they feel that the benefits of open government data outweigh the costs, their responses are here http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2010/apr/08/do-benefits-open-govt-data-outweigh-costs/ It’s very exciting for me, this Open Data thing; makes me feel like developing countries without regular internet (or with more pressing problems than digital inclusion) have a looooooong, long way
  20. 20. to go in becoming intelligent, in saving some money (in these days of recession), in empowering their citizens to make informed decisions for themselves, and in truth, and in not being excluded from the rest of the world. I’m thinking of Nigeria and saying, “if only we knew……..” P: S – please don’t forget I’m still receiving comments and suggestions on the Two Books a Month (TBAM) project. It’s just a click away http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/two-books-a- month-tbam/ Thank you!!! Hyperlinks http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/privacy/index.php http://www.no-cctv.org.uk/campaigns/moseley_anti_anpr.asp http://www.no-cctv.org.uk/campaigns/moseley_anti_anpr.asp http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Parents-Outraged-After-CCTV-Cameras-Installed-In- Toilets-At-Grace-Academy-Birmingham/Article/201003215570225?f=rss http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/crime-courts/privacy-fears-over-the-device-that-can- eavesdrop-on-crimes-1.1036149 http://raceonline2012.org/manifesto http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2010/10/27/hyperlocal-voices-will-perrin-kings-cross-environment/ http://www.slideshare.net/jenniferbell/benefits-of-open-government-data
  21. 21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_government http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Leadbeater http://www.futuregov.asia/ http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2010/apr/08/do-benefits-open-govt-data-outweigh-costs/
  22. 22. 4. THIS THING CALLED SOCIAL CAPITAL! Posted: November 20, 2010 in Blogs from and about school, http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/this-thing-called-social-capital/ and www.masocialmedia.posterous.com on November 22, 2010. 1015 words Every now and then, we hear something about a new world order where every country will use the same currency, use the same policing system, etc. Religious people say it’s a sign of the ‘end times’, you know, just before the world comes to an end. I remember the panic I felt some years ago when some countries switched their currencies to the euro; I remember begging God to at least let me have my own family before the world ends! The first time I heard of social capital ever, was at the Social Capital as the New Currency event at the MAC. To my mind, it sounded like this was it, this currency would trump my new world order ideas because this we wouldn’t even need money for! Just be friends with a bunch of people, be nice to them, and start calling up favours as you need them! Award winning Director Natasha Carlish gave a brilliant example with the Turbulence film where everything needed for the production of the movie was sourced via social networks (including the 3000 pounds of lighting)! I remember telling myself that if she could do it, I could, and started imagining myself at the première of my movie (done from concept to edit on social capital of course)! Yes there was the bit about social capital not being a genie you could rub the right way and get results, you would have to invest in the networks but honestly, I wasn’t listening. I related to it like I would do the basic form of barter; your milk for my flour. Jon Hickman’s class shook the very foundations of my naivety, practically uprooted them from the ground. First off, it wasn’t as simplistic as I had thought it to be, it was academic! As a matter of
  23. 23. fact, even though an emerging consensus has been identified by Woolcock (2001) defining social capital as “the norms and networks that facilitate collective action”, it is still a highly contested idea at the moment. That class took away the equation of social capital to anything monetary, even though further reading on Johnston and Percy-Smith’s “In Search Of Social Capital” showed that a number of scholars likened social capital to finances and suggested that potential finances or monetary gain were some of the origins of social capital. Since then, I’ve done a bit of random reading on the subject to get myself out of the dark and this is what I’ve come up with, in my own words. Social capital is not owned by one person alone but is the sum of strengths drawn from social networks; you have to contribute and actively participate to gain the right to draw from it. This thought is corroborated by Gidden’s (2000:78) definition of social capital as ‘‘trust networks that individuals can draw from for social support’’. Also agrees with Bourdieu’s definition of it as ‘‘the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to a durable network of somewhat institutionalized relationships of mutual recognition or acquaintance’’. Almost sounds mathematical!!! A lot of other big weights (Coleman, Fukuyama, Becker, Webber, etc.) have defined social capital as it speaks to them but I found that three underlying principles that cut across all their definitions are reciprocity (or do unto others what you would have them do to you), trust, and the fact that you need to belong to a network and participate to be able to reap anything from it. From Jon Hickman’s class I learnt that policy makers see social capital through the eyes of Robert Putnam, believing that when people come together to collaborate, they reduce reliance on the state, increase opportunities for each other, and generally make their society better.
  24. 24. Reading ‘Social Capital: Beyond the Theory’, a 2003 research document by National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO) identified more positive outcomes of social capital including (but not limited to) improved labour market participation, good election turnout, economic growth, and government effectiveness. Woolcock (2001) does a good summary of the benefits of social capital when he says “the well-connected are more likely to be housed, healthy, hired, and happy”. All this is apart from social capital being both a public and private good to all concerned. A good example would be members of a community volunteering to get together to repaint and redecorate an orphanage. Public good = doing something good for the community. Private good = providing the volunteers new friendships and contacts that might benefit them later. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Unfortunately, social capital is not all heavenly. Its positives ironically also constitute its negatives. Portes (1998) identified four negative consequences of social capital to be exclusion of outsiders (so people outside a circle find it difficult to get in); excess claims on group members (making them do stuff they normally would not do just because they belong to a network); restrictions on individual freedom (making them feel like because you belong to this group you can or cannot do stuff) ; and downward levelling norms (where a community that has experienced adversity consciously or unconsciously restricts its members from seeking to better their lot). Narayan (1999) explains the exclusion component of social capital by saying it sometimes results in “unequal opportunities for participation, meaning that those who have access to resources and people with the power to make decisions are likely to continue doing so to the detriment of those who are already not in that circle”. That made me think again about the ‘rich getting richer and poor getting poorer’ phrase. Also, the ties between members of criminal networks and the mafia are also due to social capital or the “strong internal bonds they have”, so says NCVO.
  25. 25. Bottom line, there’s still a lot I need to learn, a lot more I need to understand about this thing called social capital but I know I have moved from being the starry-eyed youth seeing social capital as the genie with my three wishes. P: S – it took a lot to expose my ignorance on this subject so…..be easy with it!!! Hyperlinks http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/this-thing-called-social-capital/ http://www.turbulencefilm.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_D._Putnam http://www.ncvo- vol.org.uk/uploadedFiles/NCVO/What_we_do/Research/Social_Capital/SocCapital%20BeyondTheT heory.pdf
  26. 26. 5. BEYOND 2010: GETTING READY… Posted: November 22, 2010 by in Blogs from and about school, http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/beyond-2010-getting-ready%e2%80%a6-2/(1094 words) On the way to this event, in the blistering cold of time around 7:40am, I’m singing, ‘on the road again’; you know, the song that donkey in the animation Shrek was humming when Shrek allowed him to come along on the trip to see Lord Farquad. Now even though I have issues with Shrek (and how DreamWorks is slowly turning what would have been a classic into a random serial), it is the only thing that comes to mind at this time because I am truly on the road again, and I’m loving it! In less than six weeks of starting my MA in Social Media at Birmingham City University my class has been to three events ; the Hyper Local Government Camp ‘unconference’ at Walsall College (first time ever I was at an event where the agenda was formed on the spot), the Multi-platform Story Telling and Social Capital at the MAC (where I inflated my ignorance balloon on social capital), and this one, the Beyond 2010 event organised by the Birmingham City Council and Digital Birmingham to spark up debates on how to deliver more public services for cheaper using digital innovations. Apart from thoroughly enjoying the coffee and biscuits and getting wowed by Samira Ahmed’s CV, Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader, Birmingham City council gave me my first laugh of the day when he said, “there are three types of people around, the ones born in Birmingham, the ones who wish they had that privilege, and the ones who have no ambition”. Talk of being proud of where you’re from! Ha! He also laid the background for what the conference would be about, looking at case studies of places, governments and people who had embraced technology to achieve better outcomes for cheaper, especially in the light of the budget cuts just spits away.
  27. 27. First (and in my opinion the most interesting session for the day) was by Robert Bell, co-founder of Intelligent Community Forum. He talked about intelligent communities, saying they are measured by what they do (innovative and constantly working to build a knowledgeable work force), how they do it (advocacy, marketing, digital inclusion), and why they do it (to give their children a life better than what they’ve had). He also stressed the need for digital inclusion because leaving people out costs more money. We broke into sessions and I remember murmuring to myself as I went to find my hall about the futility of breakfast with the flight of stairs I had to climb! I sat in on a session chaired by Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Government Transparency and Open Data Advisor. I must say I loved the way Kate Sahota explained Open Data using a popular film (don’t remember which now) and then ran us through the Benefits of Open Data (efficiency, opportunities to reuse data, accuracy, improved transparency, data quality) and then the challenges with it (what and what not to release, how the councils can make money off the data they release, Ordnance Survey). She wrapped up by touching on how councils can start Open Data. Now, ever thought about who decides what information is released? What approach is better for releasing data? Those were the questions Adrian Brown from the Institute of Government left us with after his talk about the two approaches of government to transparency which could either 1. Targeted: waiting for the public to ask for the data before you release it as against releasing random bits of information. 2. Free: as fast you can get the data out, let it out for people to access, re-use and solve problems that affect them.
  28. 28. Final presentation was by Open Data champion, Will Perrin. Can I digress a bit and say that at all three events I’ve been to so far I saw at least ten people who have been to all three events too. Made me think two things;  Means it’s a fairly close-knit network since everyone gets invited to all the ‘same purpose’ events  We could be at risk of circulating messages at these events to the same circle of people and excluding (however unconsciously) a wider and potentially ‘just-as-strong’ audience. Back from my drifting thoughts, Will Perrin talked about the benefits of Open Data, and then touched on how communities can embrace the big society; help their neighbourhoods find a voice online, and give their citizens the data and information they need to help them deliver efficient public services. I enjoyed the presentation, Will Perrin is a great speaker; my only issue with it was that I had heard it all before (at the Hyper Local event). And I’ll leave it at that. Food!! Yes, it was lunch time. Lunch was lovely; exposed me to another difference between Nigeria and here though. Lunch at a conference in Nigeria would be rice (boiled, jollof, fried, sautéed), chicken (in all forms imaginable), fish, moimoi (bean pudding), beef, goat meat, salads, etc. Lunch here was mini sausages, sandwiches, prawns, potato wedges, meatballs, and the option of tea and coffee (of course). Back from lunch (which I enjoyed), Helen Milner from UK Online explained the brilliant work her company is doing (in collaboration with the government) in getting people online. Things I took away?  Don’t use the offline majority as an excuse
  29. 29.  Create the digital world and get the offline on board  Don’t just see it as a tool to save money (even though it does save, and a lot) After this there was the presentation by Andreu Puig, General Manager of the city of Barcelona, another case study of an intelligent city by Robert Bell, and then another break out session that included Dave Harte (yay), Nick Booth, Karen Cheney, and was chaired by Will Perrin. This is what I took away from all of those (randomly noted), feel free to take notes! ü A digitally enhanced citizen is one who is well-informed to and be able influence/comment on/access decision making and have access information. ü Social media adds a valuable option to community engagement but should not be used instead of face to face communication; it’s an addition, not a substitute. ü The Big Society is about people helping people using technology so the emphasis is laid (or remains with) the people and not technology. Ok, so I could go on and on and on but I need to stop here and read, update my knowledge because Beyond 2010, technology will render a lot of human functions obsolete and I’m getting ready for that. And by that I mean prepping myself to remain relevant. Hyperlinks http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/the-hyper-local-govcamp-event/ http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/116/ http://www.beyond-2010.com/t/live-smart.asp?modeID=&DoLogin http://www.beyond-2010.com/t/learn-smart.asp?modeID=Content&uID=14&DoLogin
  30. 30. http://www.beyond-2010.com/t/learn-smart.asp?modeID=Content&uID=12&DoLogin http://www.beyond-2010.com/t/learn-smart.asp?modeID=Content&uID=23&DoLogin http://www.beyond-2010.com/t/learn-smart.asp?modeID=Content&uID=13&DoLogin http://www.beyond-2010.com/t/learn-smart.asp?modeID=Content&uID=25&DoLogin
  31. 31. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. “WE ARE THE MEDIA: NON-ACCREDITED MEDIA AND CITIZEN JOURNALISTS AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES” BY Andy Miah, Beatriz Garcia, and Tian Zhihui ‘We are the media’ is a report that discusses the role non-accredited media and citizen journalists played at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, but not before it does a brief overview of the role the media has played in the Olympics from the year 2000 The report isolates the three types of media at the games, their recognition and accommodation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or the local councils where the games are held and the different perspectives of the Games each of the three types of media cater to. There is the accredited Olympics journalist who has privileged access to Games venues and the exclusive rights to report the competitions and is catered to by the IOC and the Main Press Centre (or International Broadcast Centre); there is the non-accredited journalist who because of limitations and contractual agreement cannot be awarded full privileges but will be present at the games, cover events as they receive clearance and is catered to by the Non-Accredited Media Centre and host councils; finally there are the self-acclaimed ( characterized) or citizen journalists who even though they have a fragile relationship with mainstream media, use their blogs and other devices to give their audiences and general public a wider, more rounded view of what the games were about. The report also discusses media structures at the Olympics, some of the media laws by the International Olympic Committee that govern and are binding on the host country as part of their agreements to host the Games. It traces the infiltration per se of the traditional media at the Games by citizen journalists aided by new technologies and media using the YouTube and video blogging examples from Sydney 2006 and captures the effects this and other new media have had on the games.
  32. 32. Finally, it discusses the efforts the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games made to accommodate both the non-accredited journalists and the new media users, its attendant challenges, and concludes by saying citizen journalism should be given better recognition and acceptance.
  33. 33. 2. SOCIAL CAPITAL: BEYOND THE THEORY. BY the June 2003 National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NVCO) Research Team led by Veronique Jochum. Social Capital: beyond the theory is a 34-paged 2003 document produced by the National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NVCO). It starts by outlining different definitions of Social Capital by different academics, discusses bonding, bridging, and linking as the types of social capital and then talks about the possible expressions of the positive and negative outcomes of social capital. The research document goes on to discuss the dimensions and yardsticks for measurement of social capital in the United Kingdom and the quantitative research methods used. Beyond the theory uses examples of Community Evaluation Northern Ireland (CENI) and voluntary sector activity, New Economic Foundation (NEF) and neighbourhood renewal and the British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centre (BASSAC) and multipurpose community organizations amongst others to show how social capital can be used in practise. The final part of the work discuses voluntary organizations as a source of social capital and how they use it, outlines the factors and real life situations that hinder social capital and calls for support and capacity building aimed at not only those actually involved in it but the wider community as well.
  34. 34. REFERENCES Johnston G. and Percy-Smith J (2003): In search of social capital. Volume 31, The Policy Press Leadbeater, C. (2008) you are what you think (pages 1-26). In We Think. London, Profile Books Maverick A.E and Boyd (2010) I tweet passionately: twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. (July 2010). Available online http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/06/22/1461444810365313 Micah A, Garcia B, and Zhihui T (2008) We are the media (pages 452-488) in Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the new China. University of Michigan Press Shirky, C. (2010) Gin, television and cognitive surplus (pages1-29). In Cognitive Surplus (2008) Veronique Jochum (2003) Social Capital: beyond the theory (June 2003) available online http://www.ncvo- vol.org.uk/uploadedFiles/NCVO/What_we_do/Research/Social_Capital/SocCapital%20BeyondTheT heory.pdf (accessed 2nd November 2010). Williams, R. (1958) Culture is ordinary. In Resources of hope: culture, democracy, socialism. London: Verso. www.fairygodsister.wordpress.com

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