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Three Ways to Improve Citizen Media in Belarus: learning from the West


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presentation given by Evgeny Morozov at a Kyiv meeting of Belarus-media donors, early April 2007

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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Three Ways to Improve Citizen Media in Belarus: learning from the West

  1. 1. Learning from the West 3 ways to improve citizen media in Belarus Evgeny Morozov/Transitions Online
  2. 2. 3 ways to improve: a personal perspective <ul><li>Increase the # of serious, analytical, investigative posts </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimize blogging: from users with free time to users with smth to say </li></ul><ul><li>Make the blogosphere more accessible/useful to journalists and other professionals </li></ul>
  3. 3. Life of a post written in English
  4. 4. Step I: Create a new post
  5. 5. Step II: Write the text
  6. 6. Step III: Tag it
  7. 7. Step IV: Post it to the blog!
  8. 8. But it also appears here…
  9. 9. And here…
  10. 10. … and here
  11. 11. And if somebody diggs it, also here..
  12. 12. And very likely also somewhere here…
  13. 13. But what if your post is really good?
  14. 14. Within a few hours, it would make it here…
  15. 15. … and here
  16. 16. … and here
  17. 17. … and here
  18. 18. And of course here…
  19. 19. Then it appear on pop. aggregators
  20. 20. And “buzz” aggregators…
  21. 21. And “human” buzz aggregators
  22. 22. And news aggregators…
  23. 23. Other bloggers will easily find it…
  24. 24. … and write about your post/blog
  25. 25. You might even appear on some community news programs…
  26. 26. Perhaps, even MSM will mention it…
  27. 27. Result: Slashdot/Digg effect
  28. 28. Observations? <ul><li>In 24 hours: from virtually nowhere to MSM </li></ul><ul><li>Increase visibility/popularity of one’s blog by thousands of times </li></ul><ul><li>Establish connections to top blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Hard work pays off quickly; visibility cycle is very short </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives to post go up tremendously, as better posts lead to better visibility </li></ul>
  29. 29. Life of a post written in Belarusian
  30. 30. Write a post on LJ…
  31. 31. Repost it on minsk_by
  32. 32. … and a few other communities
  33. 33. … and hope that you’ll be featured in RFERL overview…
  34. 34. Or “Nasha Niva”…
  35. 35. But… <ul><li>You are still pretty much invisible to other bloggers </li></ul><ul><li>There is no way for them to express whether they like or dislike your post </li></ul><ul><li>They can’t easily share it with others </li></ul><ul><li>Very few of them use RSS, i.e. most of them don’t actively search for info on selected topics, but rather read whatever is on minsk_by </li></ul>
  36. 36. Implications? <ul><li>Low incentives to post in general </li></ul><ul><li>Even lower incentives to write long, analytical posts </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, most bloggers write for the people in their “friend list” on LiveJournal not even hoping to get global audience </li></ul><ul><li>Many of them just write password-protect posts—which is almost unheard of in the West </li></ul>
  37. 37. Results ? <ul><li> Blogging culture that thrives on short and often very personal posts at the cost of longer and more controversial pieces offering social commentary </li></ul><ul><li>Busy people and professionals might be discouraged from blogging, since no matter how good their arguments are, they are given equal treatment by the rest of the LiveJournal mob </li></ul>
  38. 38. Hypothesis As more content-meritocracy is introduced to the .by blogosphere, it will a) have better/deeper posts b) become more appealing to serious people
  39. 39. Other benefits  The more blogging and content-sharing tools are localized, the easier it will be for journalists, bloggers, and other professionals to take full advantage of the blogosphere!!!
  40. 40. Search better
  41. 41. Track the buzz/Hunt for Emerging Stories
  42. 42. Track trends
  43. 43. Track key people
  44. 44. Track key phrases
  45. 45. Track Full Conversation
  46. 46. Track full conversations II
  47. 47. Track both MSM/blogosphere
  48. 48. Track LOCAL conversations
  49. 49. Track Feedback to your stories
  50. 50. Thank you! Questions? Email:
  51. 51. disclaimer: I've done my best to attribute slides, graphs and screenshots used in this presentation. Nobody is perfect, and some of them may have slipped in unclaimed – apologies to the original right holders. Let's hope that my frivolous use of your graphs or tables falls under fair use ;-)