Posterous Worksheet for UWS workshops

Here are the published notes from my UWS workshops this week. This is a worksheet for setting up and writing your first blog post using posterous. The slides and the reflection from the actual sessions will be following shortly. 

 

This workshop sheet is designed to help you set up and organise your first posterous blog, edit and manipulate its design and populate with existing content (videos from former weeks youtube task). The activity is designed to last 45 minutes and by the end of the session you will have set up a blog, written/created the first post and will be thinking towards using it as a tool for promotion and dissemination. 

Step 1: Getting a posterous account 

The reason why I chose Posterous as our “tool of choice” for today’s seminar is that is is really simple and easy to set up and maintain. To begin with,  there is no software required in order to use it, and there’s no need to ‘sign-up’ with Posterous. You begin by writing your first blog post and then emailing it to post@posterous.com. The subject line of your email corresponds to the ‘title’ of future blog posts – and anything you write as an email is automatically turned into a blog post. That includes any attachments that you would like to add to illustrate your writing (photos, video, sideshows, pdfs, word documents – the lot!) You will get an email back from Posterous with a temporary web address for your new site, in the format of username.posterous.com.

Based on your email address, you can chose to accept the temporary URL or you can choose another blog address. Think carefully when you select this domain as it will partly represent your online identity. You can even buy a domain name at a later date and set it up to point to your new blog.

Screen_shot_2010-10-29_at_10

 The “security” element comes from your email address. You already have to have a pretty secure password on that – so it should be assumed (unless something bad happens) that when an email is sent from you, it belongs to you – making it really easy for posterous to recognise who is posting what and where it should be posted to.

You’ll get an email in the next couple of minutes (provided that Posterous doesn’t go down today) that says that your posterous blog as been created. Within that email, there is a link to your new blog – click that and it’ll take you to the posterous.com website. From here you can edit, change or delete the post that you made – as well as setting up a password and edit the look and feel of your blog.
Screen_shot_2010-10-29_at_10

Step 2: Design

Go to your Manage page, and click Edit Settings > Theme and Customize and then select your theme.

 For more details, see the Posterous blog: http://blog.posterous.com/posterous-theming-its-here-its-live-and-its-t

When theming your website, think about using colours and styles to identity with you. Another important thing to do is to update your profile with what you do and add a picture to make the page feel friendly and as if it belongs to a “real person.” You can keep the default theme (if you chose) but bare in mind what “default” means in the context of trying to stand out amongst others as a creative worker.

Step 3: Set it to autopost to other networks

Screen_shot_2010-10-31_at_21

Posterous can be used as a starting point to your other networks. As you work out of your inbox, rather than purely the posterous site, you can write your blog posts and upload content via your email. Even if you don’t see posterous as a “destination” you can use it to feed information into the websites you currently use. Your Posterous blog can be setup autopost to a number of social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, most blogging platforms, and other niche websites such as slideshare (for presentations) or scribd (for documents). One email sends your content to all your existing websites (which is handy when it comes to uploading multiple photos and videos – it is as easy as sending a email.)

Go to your Manage page and click “autopost” on the left hand side. Here you can chose where you would like to send your content beyond Posterous.

Step 4: What should I write

Sometime the hardest part of getting a blog is not the technical part, but coming up with what you should write. I’ve been writing in blogs (in some form or another) for over ten years and I still find myself struggling to think of things to put in it. There are no rules to what you should write. Below are somethings that can get you started, but ideally blogging is partly about engaging with an online community, partly about articulating and reflecting and partly about drawing attention to ideas, thoughts and finished products that interest you or you want people to know about. 

 

  1. Write about an event you are going to, are at or have been to (no matter how small it is)
  2. How-tos: Tell us something interesting about what you do, or help somebody else understand your work
  3. Reviews: It could be a book, film or an activity you have attended. An honest, word of mouth review is nearly always more interesting than a press release.
  4. Go beyond commenting on other people’s blogs, respond with a post of your own: Blogging can be part of a dialogue, rather than a purely broadcasting model, you can build links with others by reblogging and citing their thoughts.
  5. You don’t need to publish the finished article – some times getting ideas out there can be the start of improving it.
  6. Ask questions – if you don’t know how to do something, articulate why and see if you can get help from others.
  7. Interview somebody: Ask them questions around their work – this doesn’t need to be in text form – it can be audio or video too. 
  8. Get somebody to interview you: sometimes probing questions can help you get to the crux of what you are trying to achive.
  9. Reflect on experiences. Writing informally for an implied audience forces you to think about how to explain things – rather than existing in a vacuum.
  10. Post other multimedia – there are no rules to blogging, just as long as you see value in it.

 

The best thing about posterous is that you can do this via email, rather than having to learn a new platform entirely – you can focus on writing and it doesn’t feel ‘unusual’. Once you get into a habit of it (and realise that its not about an audience, it’s about thinking in public) you can start to see results quite quickly.


 

 

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New Research Trajectories: Loughborough University (aka Humanities Hill)

New Research Trajectories is a AHRC funded student-led seminar series (part of Beyond Text initiative) for facilitating conversations between East Midland based postgraduate researchers who are interested in alternative methodologies and approaches to research. Their key aims (and something I am a huge enthusiast about) is working towards interdisciplinary collaboration between disciplines, departments, faculties and institutions and looking at creative routes to having these conversations.

I attended the second* in the series of three events, hosted between the School of Art and Design at Loughborough University and Beacon Hill Country Park (the highest point in Leicestershire, about 4 miles from our house). Even the simple fact that there was a humanities research event built around a trip to Beacon Hill, a place were we regularly go with Melvin, had me curious from the offset. Wifi, laptops and plug sockets were out of the question. 

The day began with a ‘traditional’ presentation by Nils Norman from the Royal Danish Academies of the Visual Arts on his work on adventure playgrounds, space and place and how it affects his teaching and research practice. This was very much from an “arts” perspective – looking at notions of play spaces and public areas for education (amongst other things) but there was much to think about for somebody like me (a luddite techie who dropped out of an art portfolio course to do media studies), especially as I am beginning to work towards a teaching qualification and progress with my own students. He discussed how is teaching was heavily influenced by this research, often taking his students out of the classroom and into the streets – describing it as a ‘performance’ as 15 art students wandering as a group would often look like. He spoke about how he’d take them into cafes and restaurants instead of the classroom – and often just go for a walk or on bicycles to discuss their topics, essentially a ‘classroom without walls’. 

He also had an interesting point about working with students from day one to build a “user-generated curriculum” – something which appears radical and unachievable in current trends in education in the UK at the moment (those lucky danes) – but could be applied in a more subtle format. For example, this coming Monday I’m delivering a workshop to UWS PhD students on social media and academia (Academia 2.0 – there is a reason for the awful title) – where I joked about holding it in the student union instead of the classroom. It actually worked – and our research office booked it – making it probably the first research workshop to be hosted in a place other than the University. Although it won’t seem as creative and as ‘out there’ as taking them all a bike ride to discuss the Internet, smaller and lighter steps can have a positive effect on the expected format (somethings fit into the prescribed university mould – and somethings don’t – I’m not sure where this fits yet, but as long as there is coffee and cake)

The second part of the day involved the short bus trip to Beacon Hill – where Jackie Calderwood a 2nd year PhD student from DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies introduced her ‘presentation’ – an activity centred around her research into pervasive media. On the way to the hill we were asked to draw a picture of or PhD on a grid (echoing the notion of ‘dancing your PhD’) in preparation to talk about it when we arrived. My PhD drawing summed me up to a tee, not because it was an epic mess, but I lost it in a bush and the only record of it I have is the above photograph. The moral of the story being that don’t expect me to get anything done if you expect me to return with a bit of paper at the end of it :)

When we arrived at Beacon Hill, we were treated to THE BEST CONFERENCE LUNCH I’VE EVER HAD – homemade soup and bread, cooking on a camping stove and ate round a picnic bench. By buying the ingredients and cooking it themselves, the team managed to save hundreds from their budget for opting out of university catering (something that was my biggest bugbare of hosting my own event) as well as putting a smile on the faces of 20 odd PhD students. This was also a good talking point – joking that the research outputs from the event would be a recipe swap. This is had echos of those research seminars where somebody brings a cake each month- as well as mocking those who bid for money, purely to be spend on catering (#snark) – I’ve already made up my mind that I’m never buying in catering again.

After a brief introduction to each others work, we then embarked the 30 minute walk up to the summit of Beacon Hill – it was a lovely day for it, but also gave me the chance to be “tour guide” – being a local and aw’ that. I don’t know how to really describe the purpose of taking a walk up Beacon Hill has in terms of pragmatic research, however, what I can say is that some of the best conversations I do have are when we are walking the dog. This could be my direct comparison – by setting off on a mission, it sets your mind on a common goal and you can use it as a chance to get to know each others work – rather than being restricted to artificial role-play activities in a classroom. Again, I do think there is a time and place for those activities, but the act of doing something different (almost entirely random) acted as a catalyst to break down barriers between each others work.

When we returned to the University, we began plotting our ideas for the next event – a participant led activity, designed to be spread across Nottingham in the last week of term (15th of December) – there were a number of ideas floated about using particular spaces in the city to embed some art activities (such as using a cannon to fire off chocolates from the top of the Contemporary or creating a utopian/dystopian sound-walk where the descriptions didn’t match the visuals) I think my role in this will be “documenter” – somebody who is involved in the project (and aware of everyone’s role and activity) but remaining objective throughout – doing thw ‘liveblogging’ thing (that normally h
appens at conferences) where you edit, upload and archive the content as you go. It seems like a good opportunity to try something new and in a different context (‘amping the shit out of art in public spaces’) as well as contributing my technical knowledge. 

Overall, it was an enjoyable event and felt very much like a research away day – despite participants being from different backgrounds and different universities. For me, it was interesting as I’m normally the “radical” one when I’m situated within media studies contexts – so hanging out with practice based PhDs, artists and curators was actually really good for reflection (as in, I was the pragmatic traditional researcher, governed by methodologies – and they were the ones pushing the boundaries) Furthermore, the way that different theories and topics were discussed was in an abstract way – where as I fond myself wanting to simplify terms for a more general brief. When somebody mentioned that they ‘didn’t want to water down’ the concept – it got me thinking (then discussing with Alex Mosley on twitter) about the notion of thick and thin theories – and how it was ok to have different routes to understanding similar concepts. The word “trajectory” also means journey, route, movement and process – there is no harm in using all, some or none of them to describe your research path.

*I sadly missed the first event as I was in Scotland at the time, it was at Nottingham Contemporary – more details here.

Posted via email from Jennifer Jones’ PhD Notebook

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New Research Trajectories: Loughborough University (aka Humanities Hill)

Media_httpfarm2static_nxbyn

New Research Trajectories is a AHRC funded student-led seminar series (part of Beyond Text initiative) for facilitating conversations between East Midland based postgraduate researchers who are interested in alternative methodologies and approaches to research. Their key aims (and something I am a huge enthusiast about) is working towards interdisciplinary collaboration between disciplines, departments, faculties and institutions and looking at creative routes to having these conversations.

I attended the second* in the series of three events, hosted between the School of Art and Design at Loughborough University and Beacon Hill Country Park (the highest point in Leicestershire, about 4 miles from our house). Even the simple fact that there was a humanities research event built around a trip to Beacon Hill, a place were we regularly go with Melvin, had me curious from the offset. Wifi, laptops and plug sockets were out of the question. 

Media_httpfarm2static_sojlj

The day began with a ‘traditional’ presentation by Nils Norman from the Royal Danish Academies of the Visual Arts on his work on adventure playgrounds, space and place and how it affects his teaching and research practice. This was very much from an “arts” perspective – looking at notions of play spaces and public areas for education (amongst other things) but there was much to think about for somebody like me (a luddite techie who dropped out of an art portfolio course to do media studies), especially as I am beginning to work towards a teaching qualification and progress with my own students. He discussed how is teaching was heavily influenced by this research, often taking his students out of the classroom and into the streets – describing it as a ‘performance’ as 15 art students wandering as a group would often look like. He spoke about how he’d take them into cafes and restaurants instead of the classroom – and often just go for a walk or on bicycles to discuss their topics, essentially a ‘classroom without walls’. 

He also had an interesting point about working with students from day one to build a “user-generated curriculum” – something which appears radical and unachievable in current trends in education in the UK at the moment (those lucky danes) – but could be applied in a more subtle format. For example, this coming Monday I’m delivering a workshop to UWS PhD students on social media and academia (Academia 2.0 – there is a reason for the awful title) – where I joked about holding it in the student union instead of the classroom. It actually worked – and our research office booked it – making it probably the first research workshop to be hosted in a place other than the University. Although it won’t seem as creative and as ‘out there’ as taking them all a bike ride to discuss the Internet, smaller and lighter steps can have a positive effect on the expected format (somethings fit into the prescribed university mould – and somethings don’t – I’m not sure where this fits yet, but as long as there is coffee and cake)

The second part of the day involved the short bus trip to Beacon Hill – where Jackie Calderwood a 2nd year PhD student from DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies introduced her ‘presentation’ – an activity centred around her research into pervasive media. On the way to the hill we were asked to draw a picture of or PhD on a grid (echoing the notion of ‘dancing your PhD’) in preparation to talk about it when we arrived. My PhD drawing summed me up to a tee, not because it was an epic mess, but I lost it in a bush and the only record of it I have is the above photograph. The moral of the story being that don’t expect me to get anything done if you expect me to return with a bit of paper at the end of it :)

Media_httpfarm5static_deibl

When we arrived at Beacon Hill, we were treated to THE BEST CONFERENCE LUNCH I’VE EVER HAD – homemade soup and bread, cooking on a camping stove and ate round a picnic bench. By buying the ingredients and cooking it themselves, the team managed to save hundreds from their budget for opting out of university catering (something that was my biggest bugbare of hosting my own event) as well as putting a smile on the faces of 20 odd PhD students. This was also a good talking point – joking that the research outputs from the event would be a recipe swap. This is had echos of those research seminars where somebody brings a cake each month- as well as mocking those who bid for money, purely to be spend on catering (#snark) – I’ve already made up my mind that I’m never buying in catering again.

After a brief introduction to each others work, we then embarked the 30 minute walk up to the summit of Beacon Hill – it was a lovely day for it, but also gave me the chance to be “tour guide” – being a local and aw’ that. I don’t know how to really describe the purpose of taking a walk up Beacon Hill has in terms of pragmatic research, however, what I can say is that some of the best conversations I do have are when we are walking the dog. This could be my direct comparison – by setting off on a mission, it sets your mind on a common goal and you can use it as a chance to get to know each others work – rather than being restricted to artificial role-play activities in a classroom. Again, I do think there is a time and place for those activities, but the act of doing something different (almost entirely random) acted as a catalyst to break down barriers between each others work.

When we returned to the University, we began plotting our ideas for the next event – a participant led activity, designed to be spread across Nottingham in the last week of term (15th of December) – there were a number of ideas floated about using particular spaces in the city to embed some art activities (such as using a cannon to fire off chocolates from the top of the Contemporary or creating a utopian/dystopian sound-walk where the descriptions didn’t match the visuals) I think my role in this will be “documenter” – somebody who is involved in the project (and aware of everyone’s role and activity) but remaining objective throughout – doing thw ‘liveblogging’ thing (that normally happens at conferences) where you edit, upload and archive the content as you go. It seems like a good opportunity to try something new and in a different context (‘amping the shit out of art in public spaces’) as well as contributing my technical knowledge. 

Overall, it was an enjoyable event and felt very much like a research away day – despite participants being from different backgrounds and different universities. For me, it was interesting as I’m normally the “radical” one when I’m situated within media studies contexts – so hanging out with practice based PhDs, artists and curators was actually really good for reflection (as in, I was the pragmatic traditional researcher, governed by methodologies – and they were the ones pushing the boundaries) Furthermore, the way that different theories and topics were discussed was in an abstract way – where as I fond myself wanting to simplify terms for a more general brief. When somebody mentioned that they ‘didn’t want to water down’ the concept – it got me thinking (then discussing with Alex Mosley on twitter) about the notion of thick and thin theories – and how it was ok to have different routes to understanding similar concepts. The word “trajectory” also means journey, route, movement and process – there is no harm in using all, some or none of them to describe your research path.

*I sadly missed the first event as I was in Scotland at the time, it was at Nottingham Contemporary – more details here.

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#Media2012 Olympic Conversations: Citizen Media and the Games (13th Nov, 2010) #cmw2010 #Leicester

[Ok, below is the fancy copy for the event I'm chipping in for Leicester's Community Media Week (8th - 13th of November) which has been lovingly curated by John Coster, managing editor of Citizen's Eye - Leicester's amazingly awesome community led media network. Basically, myself, John, @ana_adi, @rewalls and @josipaz (or a combination of us) will be available in the Pedestrian Arts Centre (opposite the LCB Depot in Leicester) between 10.30-12 on 13th of November to talk about Olympics, Olympic cities and citizen media. It will also set some context about the #media2012 blueprint and how Leicester can be involved with the London games in 2012. I'm very keen to keep these discussions fluid and open - so expect coffee, chatter and some playing around post-it notes. It would be great if you could spread this round your networks if you are near by or know somebody who is. :-)]

#Media2012 Olympic Conversations: Citizen Media and the Games (13th Nov, 2010

A drop-in social media clinic on citizen media and the Olympic Games at Pedestrian Arts Centre will conclude Citizen Eye’s Community Media Week taking place in Leicester in November.

Open to the public and free of charge, the London 2012 focused event on Saturday 13 November will include introductions from 4 key members of the #media2012 citizen media network and then an open discussion session around the core themes of the Olympic movement.

#media2012 is an independent proposal to create a UK wide Underground Media Zone during the London 2012 Games, to assemble the social media people of the world and to create an open media environment, where culture, sport and local stories can be told across international zones. The proposal aspires to create an Underground Media Zone, which will link the United Kingdom in physical and virtual space and looks towards building the first ever community and cultural new media legacy for the Olympic Games.

Ambassadors from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and the University of Nottingham, who have performed research around Olympic Cities will host the event from 10.30am-12pm in the Pedestrian Arts Centre at the heart of the Cultural Quarter, Leicester. The managing editor of Citizen’s Eye, John Coster, will facilitate the discussion alongside with Jennifer Jones (#media2012 coordinator, Staff Writer/Web Editor for Culture @ the Olympics, PhD Researcher), and others who have worked on projects around Beijing, Vancouver and future Olympic site of Rio.

After the successful launch of Professor Andy Miah’s media blueprint for London 2012 at the Cornerhouse (Manchester’s international centre for contemporary visual arts and film) the #media2012 tour arrives in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. The city’s citizen media outlet, Citizen’s Eye, was recently commended for it’s community driven news model by the Director of London’s Cultural Olympiad, Ruth Mackenzie, making Leicester an obvious choice to continue the conversation.

Even though Leicestershire is considered “close” to the capital (a much touted 1hr 9 mins), London (and the forth coming Olympics) can still feel a millions miles away from the county. There is a good chance that international journalists and tourists will divert to the East Midlands as costs rise in accommodation within the host city – and with the international media lens beginning to focus in on our small island, how to be retain a fair and accurate representation of our city and the areas outside the sprawling capital.

This is your space to hear calls of action, ask questions, debate issues and discuss your plans for 2012 – be it positive or negative – and we’ll do our best to facilitate discussion and myth-bust around topics of Mega-events, Olympic media and citizen journalism. 

Follow @andymiah, @jennifermjones, @citizenseye and #media2012 for questions or more details.

http://bit.ly/media2012

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UWS Staff and Students: Help me fill the Flickr pool

Screen_shot_2010-10-25_at_14

When I was updating the UWSCreative blog this morning, I realised that we were lacking on the “creative common friendly, generic UWS” photos front within our Flickr pool. Thankfully, we’ve now got enough people taking pictures at events (such as the recent launch of the UWS Skillset Media Academy and #media2012 network) but there are very little photos available that actually define the campus and the University at whole – the ones that I could find were when UWS was the University of Paisley (and a lot of exciting and fun things have happened since then).

As I don’t want the University to spend money to rectify this, as traditionally they would just pay for a photographer to go around and carefully select a “vision” for the 4 campus hodge podge. Instead, I ask that staff and students who are engaging with the University online, to take a spare second out their day to take some snaps (on their phone or if they have a camera available to them) of what the University represents to them. When this is done, it would be great if you could join and upload them to our Flickr group, under a share-alike license, so we can use them to illustrate some of the campus news we are posting online via the blog and the media academy. 

Flickr image pool for UWS
 
[You can upload pictures by creating/using your own flickr account - then by joining the group, you can send your photographs to the school’s pool by selecting the photos under "organise" tab and adding them to the group]

I will be adding to the pool this weekend when I am in Scotland (across Paisley, Ayr and the CCA in Glasgow) – but I am much more interested in seeing what others can add to the mix. I’m thoroughly convinced that until the new campus in Ayr is open, we can do a lot with our online presence to match the progressive future of UWS. 

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Reflections from ECREA and The Twitter Olympics #ecc2010 #hackburg #media2012

After an excellent week in the beautiful city of Hamburg, I return to the UK to reflect on the ECREA conference, the reaction to my presentation on the Twitter Olympics and some of the fantastic contacts that I made during the course of the 3 days. Interestingly enough, the conference sessions themselves were hardwork – namely due to the format of presentation (death by powerpoint/reading from paper/copying and pasting the paper into the powerpoint and reading from the slides) but that didn’t stop us having a good time and some fantastic conversations with those who we met via Twitter (or on the bus!) and those who shined a light on how interesting their work and research actually was. The topics were great – I beg that people be more enthused by what they are up to. Even the ECREA liveblogger agrees…

Regardless, we did some cool little tricks with video and our laptops (adding a laptop microphone to my birthday wishlist though!) so we managed to live stream our sessions on justin.tv (one of the few that were) – as well as the excellent live documentation by Axel Bruns of the whole conference  (here is  mine and Jon Hickman’s session) – there was so much more potential for the organisers to be capturing all the sessions (as so many ones that I was interested in were running at the same time).

At the same time, there was a strong call for a session on social media methodology, which I added that we need more than just 12 minute sessions in a 1 to many lecture theatre space and more like a series of workshops and discussion spaces (on and offline). As the next ECREA event won’t be until after the London 2012 Games, it definitely puts into perspective how “slow” (or “scared” – or whatever strawman you want to build around it) academia moves in this area and how important it is to begin now to start debating the ethics, procedures and governance of this area – before we all continue to reinvent each others wheels. It is on that note that I’m really glad that Farida Vis has joined the University of Leicester, somebody who has some excellent ideas about how we are going to begin building and moving in this area. I look forward to working with her.

Finally, my slides and presentation video are available below – the rest of the videos will be available on my youtube page.

Posted via email from Jennifer Jones’ PhD Notebook

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