Carli Brosseau is TucsonCitizen.com's social media editor. She is also a creative writing teacher and freelance reporter whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Caesura, among other places.
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Facebook has launched a new feature called Subscribe. If there’s a blogger you are particularly interested in following, you can subscribe to the posts they make public by clicking the Subscribe button on the top right side of their Facebook profile. For all this to work, the blogger must have activated the subscribe function (for which there are easy-to-follow directions here). I always like to hear about how you like to get your information, so if you have a preferred method that you think we could do more to facilitate, let me know. You’ll find all my contact info on the left side of the page.
On a potentially more uplifting note, Mark Zuckerberg recently said at a Facebook event in Seattle (according to PaidContent’s Ben Elowitz): “The last five years have been about connecting all these people. The next 5 years are going to be about all the crazy things you can do now that these people are connected, and I think it’s going to be cool.”
Many creative professionals these days work from home. There is a wonderful freedom that comes with that — pajama wearing, dog walks anytime you hit a metaphorical wall — but there are downsides, too.
Isolation ranks high on the list of cons for many creative people I know. We all need a little action. As someone who transitioned from working in a rowdy newsroom to a dark and quiet home office, I can relate. At a certain point, I started singing to the dogs. Regularly. Then I knew things had to change.
If the situation sounds familiar, here are a couple of ideas.
Spoke6 is a co-working outfit located at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street. For $150 a month, you can use a desk, a storage locker, bathrooms, showers, a kitchen, a conference room. There is a $20 day-pass option, as well.
Gangplank is a Chandler-based co-working alternative looking to expand to Tucson. They espouse a non-profit, drop-in-for-free model and are currently looking for Tucson businesses or nonprofits with whom to work out a partnership deal.
To find out the answer to that eternal question, go to TucsonCitizen.com’s Facebook page. Take our quiz, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Antigone Books. Second prize is a book by TucsonCitizen.com’s Logical Lizard blogger Geoff Notkin, who is also a star of the Science Channel show “Meteorite Men.” Notkin has generously donated a signed copy of “Meteorite Hunting: How to Find Treasure From Space.” as well as an exclusive “Meteorite Men” badge and a promotional photograph signed by both Notkin and his expedition partner and co-star Steve Arnold. He’ll also be at our Tucson Festival of Books booth with a spectacular array of meteorites.
While you’re at it, go ahead and push that “Like” button at the top of the Facebook page. In return, you’ll get a steady stream of Tucson news and commentary and notice of our upcoming contests and giveaways. You’ll also be part of Tucson’s largest network of citizen journalists, a community that cares about reading and writing and the state of the world, more specifically, the state of Tucson, our home and very likely yours too. While you’re still at it, give Antigone Books some Facebook like love, as well.
One other thing: You may think that you have already “liked” TucsonCitizen.com’s Facebook page by hitting the button that up until recently was located on the left side of our pages. While a push of that button did indicate to others that you liked what you were reading, it did not add you to the people who receive news from TucsonCitizen.com in their news feed. A like on the top of our Facebook page would do that, as would a click on the like button in the Facebook box now on the right side of our home page. We would love for you to do that, as we would love to hear what you think. What good is a one-way conversation?
So tell us what you think. In the process, you might even win a prize.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Or, if you prefer, in video form:
It’s Sunshine Week, a week for dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. It’s a week for action. That part falls to you. Sunshine Week’s backers – most prominently the American Society of News Editors – describes this year’s worthy goals like this:
This Sunshine Week, we urge citizens to press their public officials to do more, seeking not just broad statements of support for greater transparency but specific pledges and plans of action to enhance the public’s right to know.
Sunshine Week 2011 can be a time when you as a citizen or civic organization make a difference by identifying local or state open government shortcomings and then asking your public officials to pledge and initiate specific improvements in local or state law and practice.
To assist your efforts, the Sunshine Week team presents a sample Open Government Proclamation that you, or your group, can take to your public officials to seek a commitment on open government with specific action that will lead to increased sunshine.
So get out there! Call your government to account. As a tribute (and a small push), I offer some highlights of resources for local newsgatherers.
For Arizona journalists and bloggers alike, the Arizona First Amendment Coalition compiles great online resources. There’s a link to the Arizona Public Records Book, the Open Meetings Law, a journalist’s guide to Family Educational Rights and Policy Act. These are rules Arizona newsgatherers should know. No excuses – you can’t argue for your rights if you don’t know them. The coalition also posts a link to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter generator to help you get started.
A note on public records requests: Ask for what you want firmly. In general, I am a huge fan of manners, but research shows that with records request, this approach doesn’t work. The University of Arizona’s David Cuillier publishes a study contrasting the approaches in the journal “Communication Law and Policy.” It’s definitely worth a read.
Also, a reminder: The First Amendment doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want. There are restrictions, the most famous of which involves fire and a theater. You can’t publish as fact something you know is false. Well, you can, but the trouble that will follow makes the prospect a dubious exercise in judgement. The First Amendment Center has great resources illuminating this point and others. Among my favorites are the yearly State of the First Amendment reports.
I can’t conclude this post without pointing you toward my very favorite resource for newsgatherers interested in government accountability – Investigative Reporters and Editors. Their site holds a treasure trove of tips on how to get information and how to interpret it. There are links to recent investigations, training opportunities and how-tos of many kinds. I guarantee a perusal of that site will leave you with a long list of story ideas and strategies. We will all be better off for it.
Names have long been an irresistible topic for me, and in combination with Facebook and revolution, well, I certainly couldn’t pass that one up.
AllFacebook and TechCrunch, two excellent blogs on social media themes, posted today about a just-born Egyptian baby named Facebook. According to Egyptian state-run newspaper Al-Ahram as translated by TechCrunch, the father said the name was a way to “express his gratitude about the victories the youth of 25th of January have achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl Facebook.”
The new father, Jamal Ibrahim, said that the girl’s family, friends and neighbors in the Ibrahimya region gathered around the newborn to express their continuing support for the revolution that started on Facebook. “Facebook received many gifts from the youth who were overjoyed by her arrival and the new name,” the newspaper reported (via TechCrunch). “A name [Facebook] that shocked the entire world.”
Allow me to paraphrase. Shock in two phases – the ousting of an autocrat 30 years in power, then the naming of a newborn babe. What a legacy! Facebook is unlikely to forget that piece of Egyptian history.
In the United States, the top baby names in 2009 were Jacob and Isabella, according to the Social Security Administration. I was once asked by an African professor to please name my children something that means something. I’m not yet a mother, but my record so far isn’t so good. My favorite stuffed animal was named Bunny.
What do you think?
Is it an honor to be named for a tool that changed the world? Or will she adopt her middle name as soon as she’s old enough to chose?
The reasons for bloggers to use social media are many, but here are some key points as I see them.
1. To connect directly with your readers. Most of us write to communicate with other people. Isn’t direct contact with people who have read your writing and want to respond to it a good thing? Perhaps the conversation will push that idea at the root of your blog post further. Perhaps even more ideas will result.
2. To build community. Many bloggers choose a subject because they are passionate about it. (There’s not much money in it, after all.) Passion is often related to a desire for change, and that change is often easier to effect by a group than by an individual. Social media helps put us in touch with like-minded people. Sometimes those people are influential – online and/or off – people you may not have direct access to otherwise.
3. To ensure that potential readers can find your work. Search engine optimization has been the name of the game in getting readers to Web sites, but the algorithm being optimized is in constant flux. Social media are increasingly being factored into the formula for determining search results. Plus, broadcasting on more than one channel is not a bad idea. Why not send party invitations to more than one address?