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Blogging seminar final

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  • 1. Paradigm Online Blogging and online communications workshop Howard Hudson, UNU-MERIT, March 2014
  • 2. Problem or Opportunity? 2 Survey of 230+ senior US policymakers Language: “Policymakers find much current scholarly work… inaccessible. [They] want scholars to write in… plain English.” Medium: “A scholar’s broader visibility… enhances influence among policymakers more than his or her academic standing.”
  • 3. Resources and recommendations  merit.unu.edu/resources 3
  • 4. Paradigm online 1.Blogs gaining ground: Huffington Post has more writers than the New York Times “When we go online, each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper.” Nicholas Kristof 2.Online articles are mainly read while doing other things, like mailing, shopping, etc. More rushed: mainly scanning. Quickly hooked or quickly dropped 4
  • 5. Two-way mindset Despite distractions, Web 2.0 big advantage: •You remember 10 per cent of what you read, 50 per cent of what you read and hear, and 90 per cent of what you do. Key to interactivity: blogs, infographics, videos = food for Facebook (1.2b+) YouTube (1b+) and Twitter (240m+) Commenting, sharing, liking = many small acts that can “go viral” Examples? IMF Direct / Poverty Report 5
  • 6. Blogging basics - Online diary for sharing ideas, insights and observations: What did you learn at a big event? What MOVED you and why? - Write as you speak: use abbreviations and the I/we form to be ACTIVE - Invite and respond to comments: treat it as a very informal peer review - Also good practice for writing op/eds or even policy briefs 6
  • 7. Where to start? Some examples… - Political determinants of sustainable transport in Latin American cities (paper) - Urban Mobility: What Can Latin America Learn from East Asia? (blog) - The Mythical City of Curitiba: Still a Model of Sustainability? (blog) - Path-breaking directions of nanotechnology-based chemotherapy and molecular cancer therapy (paper) - Can Nanotechnology Help Cure Cancer? (video) Simpler message = more accessible Question headlines = basic interactivity 7
  • 8. Where to start? More examples… - Understanding Small-Island Developing States: Fragility and External Shocks (book) - Bombs and Business: How can Entrepreneurs in Fragile States Manage the Risks of Violent Conflict? (blog) - Provocative but substantial, sharing evidence - Explains complex ideas in everyday language - Opens the door for journalists and non-specialists who want to know more about his research 8
  • 9. Where to start? Getting technical… - “Flesch Reading Ease Scale” part of MS Office. - MS Word 2010: File > Options > Proofing > Show readability statistics (Tick box). •100: Very easy to read. Average sentence <12 words. Max. 2 syllables per word. •65: Plain English. Average sentence 15-20 words. Average 2 syllables. •30: A little hard to read. Sentences mostly 25 words. Usually 2 syllables. •0: Very hard to read. Average sentence 37 words. Average >2 syllables. 9
  • 10. Before High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process. After Children need good schools if they are to learn properly. If there are any points on which you require explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone. If you have any questions, please phone. 10
  • 11. UN guidelines 1.BE ACTIVE: Use the active voice rather than the passive voice: shows who is responsible 2.BE DIRECT: State facts and ideas directly: use concrete rather than abstract words 3.BE DYNAMIC: Use verbs instead of nouns where possible. Verbs are dynamic and action-oriented 4.BE DIGESTIBLE: Favour short words and sentences. Present one idea per paragraph 5.BE SELECTIVE: Use appropriate language, adapted to your audience and purpose 11 “The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them.” Malala Yousafzai
  • 12. UN spelling “The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th edition, is the current authority for spelling in the United Nations.” A quick summary of common usage: - analyse - labour - organization - programme - one to nine, 10... - per cent (not %, unless in tables or links) 12
  • 13. Headlines and blockquotes •Use a simple and vivid title (3-5 words) with an explanatory subtitle (10-15 words) •Use blockquotes to highlight major / controversial ideas 13
  • 14. Structure = inverted •Front-load articles: begin with the main problem or position, add key info, then essential context. Aka “Inverted Pyramid” •Present one idea per paragraph •Add chapter headings for chunks of text: be concrete rather than abstract, especially for international audiences 14
  • 15. Assignment: “Translate” texts into everyday English -Take the example provided or one of your own working papers -Change the title into a journalistic headline, then convert the abstract / conclusion into a blog of 500 words -Start with a bigger problem, e.g. one of human survival, development or welfare to tap into a wider audience -Add your own insights and observations -Share with the group! 15
  • 16. Any questions? ?? ? 16