Churchill Fellows’ webinar: Using social media and blogging

Churchill Fellows’ webinar: Using social media and blogging

hello and welcome to the latest Winston
Churchill memorial trust webinar. Today we’re going to be talking about how to
use social media and blogging to communicate findings from your
fellowship we hope you’ll come away from this webinar with some helpful
information and ideas for how you can use these tools to promote your own work.
My name is Ben Anstis. I’m the communications officer at the Winston
Churchill Memorial Trust and with me I’ve got a panel of three amazing
Churchill fellows who’ll be talking about their experiences of using social media
and blogging. Joining me in the WCMT offices today we have Toby Carr, an
architect who led a sea kayaking expedition to explore the northern
extremities of the shipping forecast. Hello Toby. Hi. And also we have Siobhann
Tighe, a broadcast journalist who travelled to Sweden and the USA to find out about prison radio stations that are accessible to the wider public.
Hello Siobhann. Hello Ben. And also joining us online from Belfast we have
Siofra Caherty, a designer, educator and activist who travelled to Canada, Denmark,
Switzerland and the USA to study zero waste initiatives. Hi Siofra. Hi Ben. Before we start the discussion we’d like
to draw your attention to a guide to blogging that we’ve recently created,
which features some information and tips we hope you’ll find helpful. You can download that by logging in to our website
and going to the fellows’ resources page. We’re going to speak to our three
panelists for about 20 minutes and then you’ll have the chance to put your
questions to them. You can find instructions for submitting your
questions in the email we sent you yesterday. So I’m going to start by
talking to Siofra. So Siofra, before we start talking
about your blogs and social media, could you just tell us a little bit more about
what you researched on your fellowship? So you can hear me
okay? Yes we can. So I was researching zero waste
approaches to design, education and community. I travelled throughout Europe and North America looking at best practice examples of how
zero waste has been used to inform design studios, design education, and then
how it’s working in communities. I visited factories that were using waste
materials for making products. I visited leading design institutions
like Parsons in New York and met with the educators there that were
teaching through zero waste and trying to understand how do you teach
something like this and the importance of it and also I visited a lot of food cooperatives and looked at how they were using zero waste to share food and
to build strong communities. Fantastic! So you blogged and
you also used Twitter and Facebook while you were on your fellowship but it was
Instagram that was the tool that you found to be most effective. Could you tell us a
bit about how you used Instagram and the impact it had. So I have my
own business called Jump the Hedges and through Jump the Hedges I make bags
and I used Instagram to promote, showcase and sell my products. So I combined
this with my my fellowship and I used Instagram because I already had a
following on Instagram. I used this as
the platform to start developing it further and I used just the regular kind
of Instagram like where you like post images and I’m sure a lot of people have
maybe their own personal Instagram where they post images of their
family and friends but mine is public and it’s a business account and
then you can all go on have a look at it and see what I got up to. I used the
normal format of just posting images and then I
also use the format of stories. Instagram stories is a hugely strong tool
to use because you can promote through videos or imagery or
whatever you want. It reaches a huge amount of people. Some of my Instagram stories would have
reached maybe six or seven hundred viewers so I would get a huge amount of
people from different areas. For me it
was the only way really to communicate with people on such an international
level. Facebook was really not useful at all to be honest.
Whenever you do an Instagram story or an Instagram post, you’re able
to link it to all your accounts, you can post it on Facebook at the exact same
time, on tumblr and you can show it all at one time. So I would have
done that but Instagram was definitely the most important way for me to reach
anyone. And just for the uninitiated, could you briefly explain what an Instagram story is? Yeah, so on Instagram,
whenever you go on your Instagram platform, you’ve got loads of
tiny little squares and you can just pop autographs into that but with an
Instagram story, you click on your actual profile image and your phone shows up the camera mode so you can use it for an
image that’s already saved on your phone or you can take a live video and if you take like a live video and all of your followers are notified that you’re taking a live video. So this is a
really good way to get people. I
think I have 1,700 followers and if I do a live video 1,700 people
are notified at one time that Jump the Hedges is currently recording a
live video. So it’s a really good way to get in touch with people really quickly. With
regards to kind of figuring it all out it is all very straightforward but there
are different YouTube tutorials and all that kind of stuff. Once you get
the hang of it, it’s very very
very easy. I’ve realised that the most simple stuff is the best. There are certain
bloggers and other people that post too much stuff but I would have maybe only posted
once or twice a day and this was more than enough.
It was also, for me, something to keep me busy while I was on my
Fellowship. All that promotion and documentation was
really good now for me writing up my report because I have all of it
documented and recorded. Okay, fantastic. If someone was new to
Instagram and was interested in
using it, what kind of advice would you give to them? I would say just be
confident and go ahead and use it because I think people have the issue of
‘what if my images aren’t good enough?’ ‘what if it just doesn’t look right?’ but you can
always go back and delete things and you have to remember, some
of you might be graphic designers but I’m sure most of you aren’t. You’re not
pretending to be a graphic designer. I’m not pretending to be a photographer
or graphic designer. I’m a product designer. All of my images I’ve taken myself and when I had professional images I’ve
always credited photographers. You kind of just have to be confident in
putting things forward and just realise that you’re not a photographer and just
put it out there really. I think people really engage more
with badly taken images than they do with professional shots. A bit
more human? Yeah, more human and it’s a bit unrealistic, all these superficial images. Another thing that I noticed hugely is that with
regards to people liking your photos and engaging with it, people will engage
hugely with photos or imagery when I am in it myself or when there’s people in it. They’ve engaged much more with that than they do with landscapes or things like that. For example, in San Francisco I went out as part of
the global action climate summit and I was planting trees. I put images up of that and I got so many questions and comments and people really engaged with
that because they could see a human interaction. Just keep it
real and just be confident in putting things out there and if you really don’t
like it after a few weeks you can go back and delete things. Absolutely. Okay,
well thank you so much Siofra. We’re going to move on now but please
stay on the line because we will have some questions later from the listeners
but thank you so much for that. That was really really interesting. So we’re going
to go to Toby next. Toby, your Fellowship was rather unique. Could you just tell us briefly a little bit more about what you did on your
Fellowship travels? Yeah so carried out a sea kayaking expedition, which was
essentially a series of journeys through different areas of the UK shipping
forecast, which really formed a framework for what I was going to do on the trip.
So that took me to Iceland, to the Faroe Islands, Norway, Denmark and
Germany, the Netherlands and finally back to London, which is Thames
in the forecast. There were different avenues that I was trying to explore with the
project. One was it was part of a personal challenge for myself. Secondly it
was a way of trying to meet with people who were kind of engaged in the same
activity in different areas and to find out more about that what they got from
it, how we could maybe try and encourage more people to make use of the
outdoors and I suppose what made it special for them. So I was also
interested in the cultural side of things as well because the shipping
forecast has a place in our cultural history in the UK and in our cultural identity. I was interested just to probe that a bit and to find out
about what it might mean or what similar things might mean for people in other
countries. So that was really interesting. So the way that I
documented it was through collecting stories and recording audio clips. I took a lot of pictures. I took some film footage as well but and I guess
because there was a sort of physical element to the trip I was literally
kayaking from place to place along the coast line. I spent quite a lot of the time on my own during the day doing that and then would land and be quite tired as a result of the expedition sort of at the end
of it. So there were different avenues to the Fellowship. So
interesting. So you told me that you’d never blogged before this
trip. So could you talk about a bit about why you decided to
blog about your Fellowship and also how you set up your blog. Yeah so I suppose I was a little bit scared of social media. I’m quite active on
Facebook, but as you said I’d never blogged before, I hadn’t used Twitter,
I hadn’t used Instagram. But I was interested in finding different ways
that people could engage with my story and my journey and for me the
storytelling part of it was interesting and is interesting. I thought that a
blog could be a way to provide people with a more in-depth way
of engaging with the project than just sort of you might see a photo and then
find that interesting and then want to read a bit more about it. I want to
create those different levels of ways that people could engage with what I was
doing and I suppose the way I started to think about it was just by looking at
blogs that other people have written and things that I might be interested in
reading myself and tried to structure what I was writing around the things I
thought might be interesting for other people. So I tried to avoid too much
technical kind of information or sort of stuff to do with like exactly
how far I’ve been or how many calories I’ve burnt or anything
like that, which I wasn’t really logging anyway. So it’s more story based
and that’s why I found the blog useful. And how did you approach writing
an individual blog post? What sort of subjects did you write about? I had some really good advice before I left from the
Churchill Trust and all of the information online but also I made
contact with and some travel writers before I went and one of the things that
that everyone said it’s that you must write down the end of the day what
you’ve been doing. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t kind of tie together in some
sort of meaningful prose, just make a note of what you’ve been doing because I
think especially on a journey like a Fellowship journey you’re
meeting so many different people and seeing so many different places and
having different experiences one after another and if you don’t write down what
you’ve been doing and sort of how it made you feel, why it was useful,
things like that at the time, it’s really hard to recall it later. So I kept loads
of notes, if I was feeling too tired because I had a long day on the water I actually
just recorded stuff into my phone or on rather camera, which
I never intended to share, it’s just as a way of recording. Also, because I’ve spent a lot of time travelling between sections,
that was a really good time to consolidate what I’ve been doing and
then kind of think about what was going to happen in the next place so it
was a useful tool to basically wrap up what I’d done in one area and
then think about the next. What were the results of your blogging? Did it do what you hoped it would? I
didn’t really know who was going to read it and what’s been really
interesting is catching up with people when I’ve been back and, maybe people
that I already have connections with, that have been reading it. I’ve got emails from people all over the place that maybe
have an interest in the forecast or an interest in the story of what I’m starting to do and that’s been amazing, really,
because you I think you just put something out there you don’t really
know who’s going to respond to it and for me that was interesting.
It’s helped me to make connections with people that I wouldn’t have
connected with otherwise because they can find out a bit more about actually
what I’m doing and what I might be interested in. So you used
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to talk about your Fellowship, as well as the
blog. How did you go about engaging people on those different
platforms? Trial and error, really. I think the first thing was to get over
the fear of it in a way. We use Twitter and Instagram in my my work and I
was a bit apprehensive about it so it’s a little bit of a
test to how it might be useful. I found Twitter particularly was really useful
for me as a way to connect with a much wider audience that might not be at all
interested in the world of kayaking or kind of auditioning or anything like
that but they’re really interested in the cultural side of my Fellowship and
so suddenly I was in contact with people that I never would have been in a
network with before. I think Twitter has been really useful for that.
Instagram I’ve found useful as a way of editing
through some of my photographs so it’s a way of just thinking at the end of the
day, what’s the most interesting thing that’s happened today or
which image have I got that might best represent what I’ve
been doing. And now I think, as we were just hearing, that’s really
useful for writing the report because things are already
slightly pre-edited. I have a small following on
Twitter and Instagram. It’s not like it’s gone mad but I do
think it’s a useful way to connect with people
outside of your immediate network. And for people just to find out
what you’re doing because they can take it or leave it. Follow you and unfollow you. It’s a bit more fluid than
something like Facebook, which is kind of fixed. You mentioned when
we talked earlier about tailoring your posts to each platform
and thinking about what might work well for different audiences. Could you talk a bit
more about that? I don’t know if I did it particularly well but I
think there is a danger that, and we were just talking about this before, if you kind
of throw yourself into the social media platforms you can feel kind of quite
stressed out by it because you feel like you constantly have to put updates and
you constantly have to let everyone know what you’re doing. I think that
is something that is worth managing, particularly if you’re new to using it but I suppose
I just try to think about what might be interesting for the audience
that I think I’ve got on Twitter and they’re probably more interested in
reading a short summary of what I’m doing and where I am. On Instagram
I’ve noticed that the people that are following it are from a
slightly different kind of network and they’re interested in pictures of different landscapes or different places I might be. Facebook
I’ve used as a way to repost some of the blog posts that
I’ve been writing along the way. Great, we’re going to move on to Siobhann now. Siobhann, can you tell us a bit more
about the topic you researched on your Fellowship? So I did a project which
was all about prison radio and the reason why I did that was because when I
got my Fellowship I was on secondment to the ministry of justice as the head
of prison radio and, not many people know that in prisons there’s a prison radio
station made by prisoners for prisoners but let’s say you turn on your radio at
home, a normal radio, you can’t tune into it. So you
can only listen to it within the walls of a prison and the main objective is
rehabilitation so there’s lots of rehabilitation messages on there. For
presenters who are prisoners, they acquire lots of skills such as
presentation skills, putting forward an argument, putting forward a discussion in
a fluent way, in a way that’s engaging. So there’s lots of
literacy skills attached to it. Is that national? So it’s across the whole
prisoner state in England and Wales because prisons are devolved. So
it’s not in Northern Ireland and it’s not in Scotland, although Scotland has
got its own project radio project going. So anyway, what I wanted to do was go to
other countries where you could listen to programs on your normal radio at home
when you’re in the kitchen making a dinner or something, which are made by
ex-prisoners and addressing issues around prison life and I weighed
up the merits of that and the risks of that. So that’s hopefully gives you some
idea of my project. It sounds so interesting. So why did you decide to
blog about your Fellowship and how was your experience? So my Fellowship was
about three years ago, so a little bit further back in time compared to our
other two guests and before I went everyone was telling me oh you must blog
you must be something online about this and like Toby, I felt an enormous amount
of pressure when it came to that but I felt, okay, I should do it, I should kind
of dive in the water here and what I decided to do was get a free blog making
site through Wix. You can pay for the service but I decided that I
didn’t want to but what it does, it provides you with a template. And you can
be as flashy and as complicated as you want to be and you can play around with
it. The reason why it helped me was, one,
it allowed me to kind of keep in touch with people at home or them keep in
contact with what I was doing and the progress of my work and it was good from
a safety point of view, people knew where you were, actually. And because
you’re travelling on your own, it’s a really nice thing to do at the end of
the day if you have the energy, unlike Toby who’s kayaking around the
British Isles and even further afield. It’s a really nice thing to do to kind
of make sure you keep up with what you’ve learned that day, analyse it a bit,
process it a bit and actually it’s incredibly helpful when it comes to you
being back home writing the report because it’s all there in a kind of
digital diary if you like. So I found, actually, once I kind of dived into the
whole blogging thing it was really useful. When we talked a
bit earlier you mentioned that when you wrote a blog post you thought about what was newsworthy from your trip Could you talk a bit about that and how
you approached writing a blog post generally. Yeah, so I’m a broadcast
journalist. I’m used to telling stories so one piece of advice I would give is
keep your story length quite short and really focus on the pictures.
People love seeing pictures and again it was mentioned earlier in this webinar.
People like seeing pictures of other people. Having said that, because
I’m a very cautious social media person there isn’t a picture of me on my
website. That’s for two reasons. One, as I said, because I’m
cautious and I’m quite shy. But there’s another reason. Because of my job
I prefer to keep keep under the radar a little bit and that is a piece
of advice that I would give out. I would really kind of look inside yourself and
say to yourself, how public do I want to go and how comfortable
am I being public and will it be beneficial if I’m really public. For our first speaker it was because she has her business and it’s a really good idea. Toby, I don’t know how you feel
but you’d like your project to keep on going so maybe it’s important for you to
be more public. Again, I just made the decision I wanted quite a low profile. Does that answer your question? I guess it’s what you’re putting
at the forefront, whether it’s the the issues or whether you need to put
yourself in the story as well. I suppose putting yourself in the story is
an interesting one because I’m a broadcast journalist, the stories I do
are not about me. I put other people at the front of the story rather than me
There are very few stories that I’ve done where I’m at the centre
of them and there needs to be a really good editorial reason to do that.
Thinking from an editorial point of view, as well, because your content is so
public, just be very careful about what you write because you need to be
content that other people are going to be happy with what you’ve
written. It is a public platform after all, so don’t libel anyone, don’t defame
anyone. If it’s your opinion, say it’s your opinion. Also, if you are working with vulnerable people and many Fellows will be working with
people who have vulnerabilities in one way or the other, maybe possibly with
children, just be really aware of using their photos online. I’m
drawing on my broadcast journalism here but I think there are lots of factors
around social media and consent is one of them and not everybody will want
their picture on your website. I think that’s true, I really
agree with what you’re saying. You have to treat it quite carefully depending on
who you might be working with in a story you’re trying to tell. I think also,
what I found was a brilliant offshoot of maybe keeping the blog or having
Instagram. It sort of gives you an excuse for saying to someone, oh I’m writing
this blog, can I ask you about this? Obviously the Fellowship project
is kind of the bigger reason for doing those things but say if you want
to take a picture of you doing something you can say I’ve got
this Instagram feed, do you mind if I take a picture with of us doing this together and for me that sometimes made it easier to ask those
questions and also maybe gauge consent at the same time. So I agree with you, you have to treat it quite carefully. Your’re right, it’s a good
reason to get those images as well. The one thing I would say is
digital platforms move on so quickly. I’m not sure whether I would do a
blog again, but three years ago Twitter and Instagram certainly weren’t as
popular as they are now. I think I would probably go the Twitter way now if I was
doing my fellowship. And how did you find people reacted to your
blog? People were really positive about it. It was a
great way of saying, especially when I came back, that I’ve been involved in
this, look at this blog. Because it was a shortcut, a signpost to what I’ve been doing. From
from the point of view of the people that I encountered and interviewed on my
research trip, it kind of gave my trip some authority. If they could see that
they were involved in a project. Does that make sense? It
gave a little bit of credibility to it or else I could have been anybody
rocking up. Okay, I did have a lovely business card from Winston
Churchill Memorial Trust saying who I was but it was nice for people to follow
up the experience of meeting me with seeing their story on my blog
and seeing it in context with the other people that I’ve met
elsewhere in the world. I guess it shows where you’re coming from
in a way that a business card obviously doesn’t. I totally had that
experience as well that people that I met at the beginning of my Fellowship
we’re really excited to follow what I was going to be doing in a month’s
time and so you sort of collect a community as you go and it was a brilliant tool for doing that. Well thanks so
much Siobhann, that’s so interesting. I think we’re going to hand over to
questions now from our listeners. If you’ve got any questions for Toby,
Siobhann or Siofra or just questions generally, please send them in now.
I believe we’ve got a couple in so one person says hi can I ask if you blog
simultaneously alongside your Instagram and if so, what platform do you use?
And that’s a question for Siofra. okay (Siofra speaks but the sound is distorted) (Siofra speaks but the sound is distorted) (Siofra speaks but the sound is distorted) Sorry, Siofra, your line’s a bit crackly at the
moment. Is there anything you can try and do about that? Have you moved? (Siofra speaks but the line is crackly) Maybe you could try logging in and out. I don’t know if that
might help. Okay, we’ll try and get Siofra back. Sorry about that but
we’ll move on to the next question if that’s okay. So the next question is, what
choices did you make between frequent diary style blogs and more considered
longer pieces which could slot more easily into the final report? For me it was almost relatively easy to make that decision because I was
using a preformed framework: these different areas of the forecast that I
was visiting. So between those areas I was
travelling from place to place, so that was a really good time to
consolidate longer posts. I was keeping a journal that
I was writing to myself but in terms of blog posts, I always did them so
there was one per area, which probably related to about a week’s worth of
travelling. They’re probably longer than they ought to be. I
think more than that I would have found too much to be
doing. I didn’t do mine daily. I think I did maybe three blog posts a
week, possibly, but it’s all about merit. So if you had a day when you met someone
really interesting that deserves writing up, I’d say I did two paragraphs per post
so I’m guessing that was roughly 500 words. I’m just
visualising it now but maybe something along those lines.
But I did I rely on it heavily for the reports when I came back. It was like a digital diary. Apart from very sketchy notes, I didn’t write anything in the notebook. I used
that platform. As you were saying earlier, I you found
it useful for processing and analysing your thoughts as you’re experiencing things. Yes, exactly. So I was recording conversations I had but also I
was analysing those conversations and trying to draw something out of them. I guess I always think of blog posts as sort of being at their best
when they’re kind of about discrete subject so you don’t try and say too
much in one blog post. I’d agree with that about trying
to keep it short and to the point. So on to the next question.
How present was the blog or gathering photos etc in your mind
whilst on your fellowship and in projects you are taking forward. Any tips for how
to stay on top of getting your material or collecting material? Open question. It was very on top of my
mind. I took photographs of every person I met and every radio
station I went to, got so many photos of radio desks and faders it would bore
people. But I found it useful as well. I
found it a really useful and positive exercise when I went back to an empty
hotel room and I was a bit lost for what to do. For me it
was also very present in my mind. I think maybe because I would have long periods
like seven or eight hours kind of on the water on my own, staring at a
landscape. I would be thinking, how would I describe this landscape to somebody that
can’t see it or how would I describe what I’m doing or how I’m feeling and I think that was really helpful. It was definitely present in my
mind. How am I going to tell the story? How am I going to try
and capture it? I’ve also got hundreds of photos but I think
actually a description of what you’re doing and how it links into
something else is perhaps more useful. But I also did radio recordings,
so I actually recorded people on mic because when I came home I really
wanted to try and get some of those pieces on the radio. So they were
also another useful diary element. I would say the same as well. I used a camera and phone and I had some mics with me. If I felt that
people wanted to talk about what they were doing I could record them
doing it. It’s good to be prepared for that kind of thing. I don’t
think we’ve got Siofra back yet but when I was talking to her earlier she
was talking about how if you put the work in, you really do get
the rewards, so it is really worth staying on top of and really thinking of it
as a big part of your Fellowship. I know she did put a lot of time into it
and, as we heard earlier, really got the results. Siofra said that she’s not a professional photographer but I think I
do follow her posts on Instagram and they’re really engaging
photographs. Definitely thinking about how people might engage
with what you’re putting there is important and I think that’s why
Instagram is a good filter because it makes you edit your stuff and
think maybe more carefully about what you are posting. Just a point on the photographs. I
think your own photographs are the best no matter what quality but what I did also is that I subscribed to a photo stock website and I just put
£10 or maybe £20 credit which gave me about 10 or 20 opportunities to
get some photos and if you’re after a really
stunning image, for instance when I was in America, I just wanted a really
stunning image of Washington and of course I couldn’t take a stunning image of
Washington or Washington Monument on my my little photo, it would never come out in the
quality I wanted so it really is really useful. I think it’s a good
investment if you want that stunning image to get the interest. Next question Do either of you have any thought
on vlogging, so that’s video blogging on YouTube and on Facebook. So on
either of those platforms. I know that on Vimeo is also another platform a lot of people
use. I don’t think either of you did that during your travels. I did record some footage of myself talking to camera and it is quite
interesting now watching it back but I think at the time I would
have been quite nervous about doing that I think I wouldn’t have felt comfortable posting videos of myself doing that. I think it depends on your
project and I think it’s about what you were saying earlier. How much of yourself do
you want to put out there? Or how much of what you’re doing do you want to
put there and if it’s a useful way to get across what it is that you’ve been doing
then I think it’s great but probably the same with all of the other things
that we’ve been talking about, you need to be quite targeted about what it is
that you’re going to post. People won’t be that interested in you just
rambling on about what you’ve been doing all day but if you’ve got
something interesting, there’s a snippet that might kind of pique their interest
into something else then I think it could be a really useful tool but I haven’t
used it. I think you’re right. Short is sweet, always, but I also think
it’s about how comfortable you are with it. If you enjoy it then why not,
go on ahead, fill your boots. Again it’s just not for me and I didn’t
want to feel pressurised into doing it if I got no enjoyment from it. I guess it’s also worth stressing that it really does depend on
the audience you’re trying to reach and whether video is going to be
the best way to engage them and I think they’re definitely projects where it
will be and others where it’s not really suitable. I believe we have Siofra
back. Siofra, are you there? Yes, I’m here. Can you hear me okay? Yeah, we can hear you
better now. There was a question for you
earlier. Someone was asking if you
blog simultaneously alongside your Instagram stories and if so, what blog
platform do use? So yes I did. I did everything simultaneously because
they’re all actually linked, probably because they’re all owned by the same
people is probably the reason why they’re all so easily linked. But whenever you post something to Instagram you can post it
automatically to Twitter, to your blog if you use Tumblr for your blog. There are so many different platforms for blogs. I did a masters about
three years ago and that was my first time ever with a blog and
it was very intimidating and overwhelming for me to use this because
I just sort of felt like I don’t want to put this out there, I don’t want everyone
looking at what I’m saying or doing. It was like an online
sketchbook. I put it out and I think to date, for that blog, my Master’s blog, actually about a maximum of about six
people have actually looked at it to date so we feel like
everyone’s going to look at it but nobody really looks at it or cares.
So you have to remember when you’re putting something out
not to get too serious about it. That Masters blog was just a way
for me to document my work and for that I used Tumblr which is a free platform, really nice visually, easy to use and very nice
to look at. And then for this I used my website builder, similar to what
Siobhann was talking about earlier. She used Wix and Squarespace is
another version but Squarespace is more expensive and the reason why I use
Squarespace is because it’s my business website. I sell my
bags through it. You have to pay for it because it’s a retail
platform but there there are cheap versions. I wouldn’t
be telling people to go and get Squarespace. To be honest I think it’s just an unnecessary expense but on mine I was able to
link my Instagram posts to my Squarespace so it meant that I was doing one
post and I was linking everything at the one time. If they weren’t linking I literally was copying and pasting. I wasn’t
rewriting things and spending ages trying to make it sound in different ways. I was
putting the same information in different places because from what I
could see different viewers were looking in different places. The majority of
people were on Instagram but then there was a different kind of viewer looking on the
blog so the same person wasn’t reading the same thing twice.
I meant to say as well that, Toby, you used a paid
platform for your blog as well. Could you mention why you did that and how that worked for you? I did use Squarespace and that was partly because it’s a web platform
so it has the functionality of having a blog but it also has the options for
essentially acting like a website and the reason I did it was I looked at
using free platforms, which would have been absolutely fine for what I was
doing, to record the stuff online but I knew that my journey was going to
continue on passed the Fellowship part of the travels and I didn’t
quite know what it might grow into. So I suppose I took the call
at beginning that to avoid having to sort of reset something up later,
I wanted a platform that could grow into something else so I can post
videos on it and I can put photo galleries and things about events and
stuff like that so it has more navigability for me to organise content
on it. But I would agree with Siofra
that I certainly wouldn’t necessarily recommend
everybody going out and doing that. I did it for quite a specific reason and I
think if you’re just using the platform’s to record your blog there’s
loads of different ways to do that. Although we were talking before
this and I said to Toby, actually, looking back, maybe I would spend the money now
on a kind of more professional-looking blog just so that it looked nicer, just
for vanity’s sake really. I guess it’s sort of horses for
courses really and it kind of depends as well on where
your Fellowship sits, if it sits into a wider project or in Siofra’s case,
into her business as well, it speaks to that. Yeah, one thing
that I was looking at when I looked at the Squarespace set up was how it would
appear on different devices and obviously like Instagram, Twitter and
Facebook are set up so they’ll appear kind of on a tablet or on a computer
desktop or on a phone whatever and so but it’s worth thinking about
when you do set something up how will it appear on your device then
also, how would you be able to get access to it whilst you’re travelling
to update it. So I didn’t take a laptop with me because I was on the water and
so I took an iPad in a waterproof case and so it was quite
important that I could log into it whilst I was away but I was also in quite
remote areas and so sometimes there was no 3G or wireless signal or anything, so
I couldn’t update it anyway, so I think there’re are two sides to thing there, how
might it appear to other people but also how you can connect into it to update it. I’m sorry, Siobhann, go on. I just wonder where we’ll be this time
next year maybe there’ll be a brand new platform that will be even better than
everything that we’ve spoken about because things are moving so quickly
in the digital sphere. Yeah, absolutely I mean I guess Instagram is
certainly a lot bigger than it was a couple of years ago so who knows
what’s coming next. We’ve got a couple more questions so, someone asked, do
you think there is any value in writing things slightly differently for the
different platforms as the characteristics of users may be
different, for example younger folk using Instagram, which is something that we’ve found,
and Twitter being a bit more businessy. Any thoughts? I think it’s about addressing your audience, if you know the
audience that uses one platform more than the other then for sure why not
kind of alter the way you say things of course. You’re not going to write for
radio in the same ways you’re going to write for TV or how you are going to write
for papers, you have to alter the message depending on the medium. That’s very true, I agree with
that. I’d say see what other people are doing
as well and what you find engaging. I found when I first started to use
Twitter I could see other people that were posting about
things which might be related to my trip but the things that I would read were
the things that got my attention straight away if I saw something that
was just a link to something on Facebook then I’d kind of be like well I’m not
interested. So I think just try and think about what
would interest you if you were trying to follow somebody’s Fellowship or journey
or whatever. Think of a headline, I guess. Did you have any thoughts on that,
Siofra? Yeah I think that for me what I found was that a lot of
academics used Twitter and my Twitter I don’t
really use that much at all but I noticed that any of the kind of
academic institutions or lectures or educators that I wanted to get in touch
with if I could find them quite easily on Twitter and they use their Twitter a
lot, while maybe self-employed design studios or entrepreneurs and
stuff not so much, they were really more
Instagram people. Also with regards like contacting people for your
interviews and stuff, I think you need to look at the different platforms too
because there were some people that I was trying to get in touch with and were on Twitter but they didn’t use the platform at all and and then
also with regards to and thanking people and saying like you know thanks for
having me, for certain people I would pull it up on Twitter and
then for other people I would maybe direct message them on Instagram and
so I suppose it is just knowing your audience and just
literally looking at what they use and which they post on most regularly
and then using that. Okay thanks. So I think this may be aimed at
Siobhan, someone saying, have you found a good method for disseminating your audio
recordings? Yeah I managed to get quite a few radio pieces on Radio 4, on the news
programs, on p.m. and on Today. Right, fantastic. Do you, when you’re doing
that, do you use something like SoundCloud or something – I mean to
pitch something would you just pitch it to kind of an audience or do you post your sound recordings online somehow beforehand. No, well I’m
lucky enough to work in the same buildings as the news programs and it really
is the old-fashioned way of knowing people and going up
to them and having a conversation. They took my radio pieces. I’m a
BBC staff member so it’s easier for me but once they were broadcast I did
actually put them up on Soundcloud and also put them up on the blog that I had
created. Yeah I guess it’s useful to mention in terms of disseminating your
findings and getting people to hear about them we also did a webinar
earlier on influencing and trying to influence policy so I’ll send
a link round all the listeners with that so you have it as well. So I think that’s
all the questions, if you’ve got another question type it in very quickly but I
think that that’s all for now. So thanks so much to everyone for listening and
for everyone who posted a question and a massive thank you to our panellists today
who’ve been absolutely brilliant and we really appreciate you taking the
time to share your experiences with us. So I’ve mentioned that we’ve
recorded this webinar so we’ll be posting it on our website very soon and
we’ll send all the listeners a link to it once we have that. And don’t forget to
check out our guide to blogging which I mentioned earlier. It’s available in the
Fellows’ resources section of our website now and also this is one of a series of
webinars we’re hosting for Fellows. This is the last one for 2018 so I hope
you have a good Christmas and New Year but we’ll be back in the new year
starting with a session on gaining publicity for your Fellowship on the
23rd of January. Until then goodbye. Thank you bye bye.

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